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Jarmes R. Clapper

Taking Putin's word

Taking Putin's word

It’s not every day that a sitting U.S. president takes the word of a former KGB colonel over the assessment of U.S. intelligence services — unless, of course, you’re talking about Donald J. Trump. The 45th president was back in full deferential mode this weekend toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, meeting with him Saturday in Vietnam and then telling reporters that he believed Mr. Putin was sincere when he said he didn’t meddle in the presidential election.

Yikes. Naturally, President Trump tried to walk back that observation — sort of. “What I said is that I believe [Mr. Putin] believes that,” he told reporters Sunday in Hanoi. Got that? Mr. Trump thinks Mr. Putin believed...