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- President Donald Trump believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies on North Korea, former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe reveals in his new book "The Threat," The Washington Post reported Thursday.
- North Korea launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, 2017.
- Trump insisted intelligence reports claiming North Korea had launched an ICBM were incorrect, refusing to believe the reports because Putin had told him that North Korea did not have that capability.
- The president has repeatedly clashed with the intelligence community he leads on a wide range of issues.
When US intelligence first informed the president that North Korea had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, he reportedly refused to believe them. Instead he relied on the questionable information given to him by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, explains in his new book "The Threat," a detail from which the Washington Post reported Thursday evening.
North Korea launched its first ICBM — the Hwasong-14 — on July 4, 2017, shocking the world by demonstrating advanced capabilities beyond what many believed possible for the rogue regime.
Trump reportedly dismissed the supposed launch of an ICBM as a "hoax," McCabe reveals in his new book. "He thought that North Korea did not have the capability to launch such missiles. He said he knew this because Vladimir Putin had told him so," McCabe wrote, according to The Washington Post.
The Trump administration later acknowledged that North Korea had, in fact, launched an ICBM.
North Korea would go on to launch another Hwasong-14 ICBM later that same month, and then in November, they test-fired the significantly more powerful Hwasong-15 ICBM. Experts suspected the first ICBM could range West Coast cities. The second ICBM could theoretically strike anywhere in the continental US.
Putin, however, remained unconvinced.
Russia refused to acknowledge that North Korea had actually tested an ICBM, with Russian media reports referring to the missiles as intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Russia may have made its assessment for political reason, or perhaps Russia’s early warning systems failed to detect the missile’s second stage, The Diplomat reported.
The insider account told by McCabe, who clashed with Trump repeatedly before he was fired last March, is disconcerting yet consistent with the president’s past behavior. McCabe joined the FBI in 1996 and worked in the Counter Terrorism Division and the National Security Branch, among other postings.
The president has repeatedly disputed and rebuked his intelligence officials on Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and recently, Trump lashed out at US intelligence for contradicting him on North Korea, ISIS, and Iran while testifying before Congress.
Insisting that the US intelligence community is "naive," he tweeted. "They are wrong! Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!"
McCabe’s book reportedly attempts to highlight Trump’s apparent subservience to Russia. The White House, however, argues that McCabe "has no credibility and is an embarrassment to the men and women of the FBI and our great country."
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