The intelligence community feels a bit betrayed today after President Trump seemingly took President Vladimir Putin's side over theirs in the question of whether the Kremlin interfered in our elections. The FBI and CIA have insisted that yes, the evidence shows Russia jeopardized our democratic process. But, during a press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump said he asked the Russian president if he had interfered, and it was a very strong no. That was that.
Former CIA deputy director and acting director Michael Morell, who now serves as a senior security contributor for CBS News, interrupted his vacation to join the network Tuesday for an important call to action. Things had improved between Trump and the intelligence community, in part because the latter had finally gained access to the White House, Morell noted. Yesterday's spectacle in Helsinki, however, was a "blow" to the morale and a blow to their relationship, Morell regretted.
If the men and women working in today's intelligence called him, he'd tell them to pack up.
Former acting & deputy CIA director @MichaelJMorell: I do think that senior officials in the intelligence community need to ask themselves whether they can continue to serve this president and represent the men and women in the intelligence community in a way that is positive. pic.twitter.com/rTuBtIWbqz— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) July 17, 2018
Other former leaders in the intelligence community like John Brennan were shocked by what they heard in Helsinki yesterday.
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
Not everyone believes heading for the exit is the right move. Stay and do your duty, pleaded Dr. Kori Schake, deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
"I passionately am appealing to all of my friends in the Trump administration not to resign, because especially given the President’s performance yesterday, it matters to have people who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, keeping their shoulder to the wheel doing that hard work," she told radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday.