Former CIA director Michael Hayden said on Friday that the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials, and a Russian lawyer with ties to official Moscow had “the classic outlines of a Russian intelligence soft approach,” The Hill reports.
According to Hayden, while “nobody passed out business cards that said ‘GRU’,” the meeting was a deliberate “soft approach” and the fact that no one in the Trump campaign “had the instinct of saying, ‘maybe we oughta tell somebody about this, like the FBI,” is what makes matters even worse.
As CNN reported, the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was set up by Donald Jr. According to Donald Trump’s then-personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, Trump Jr. told his father about the meeting, although Donald Jr. later told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he did not discuss the meeting with his father.
As The Hill noted, reports about Cohen being prepared to testify to special counsel Robert Mueller that then-candidate Trump signed off on the meeting surfaced last month. The POTUS responded via Twitter, claiming Cohen was “making up stories.”
On Wednesday, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis confirmed that his client had witnessed a meeting between Trump, and Trump Jr., that was connected to the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin-affiliated individuals offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. The Senate Intelligence Committee announced Thursday that they want Cohen to testify.
According to former CIA director Michael Hayden, the real issue is the Trump campaign’s handling of the meeting.
“If you’re running for president of the United States, you want to play in the big leagues? You should know how to hit a big-league curveball, and so you’ve got at least incompetence, and maybe a real good dose of hubris here. That is short of criminality, I get that,” he told The Hill.
This is not the first time for Hayden to publicly criticize President Trump. As the Inquisitr reported last week, Hayden accused Trump of forcing the U.S. intelligence community to become political, instead of allowing it to remain apolitical. The former CIA director’s comments came after Trump had stripped John Brennan of his security clearance, and Hayden suggested that he would be “proud” if the POTUS was to do the same to him.
While Hayden claims that the 2016 Trump Tower meeting had “the classic outlines of a Russian intelligence soft approach,” some claim that Donald Trump’s 1987 trip to Moscow is, in fact, when the now-President’s relationship with Russian intelligence services begun.
Luke Harding, author of Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, argued in his book – an excerpt of which was published by Politico – wrote that Trump attracted the attention of Soviet intelligence in the late 1980s, which makes his first trip to Soviet Moscow a part of a larger pattern.
According to Harding, Trump’s 1987 Moscow meeting is the starting point of Russian election meddling, Trump’s 2016 win, and subsequent presidency are simply the culmination of decade-long intelligence work.