'Go back to school': Trump lashes out at USA intelligence chiefs

Friday, 01 Feb, 2019

The President specifically took issue Wednesday morning with Coats' statements that North Korea had "halted its provocative behavior related to its WMD program" but was unlikely to "completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities".

In response, Mr Trump tweeted there was actually a "decent chance of denuclearisation", drawing a comparison to the "horrendous" US-North Korea relationship under Mr Obama.

Kim committed to denuclearization after meeting with Trump a year ago. You look at North Korea. North Korea is seeking an end to economic restrictions against it.

He broke with decades of United States policy when he agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last June and has planned a second summit in February.

Their views on relations with North Korea, Iran and Syria were conspicuously at odds with what Trump has said about those countries. He said afterwards that the two sides had made "a lot of progress" on denuclearization. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, according to Air Force Magazine.

Trump also cautiously suggested the end of the 18-year USA military involvement in Afghanistan that was started in response to al-Qaida's September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US that killed almost 3,000 people.

However, US intelligence agencies in an annual joint report published Tuesday said they "assess that Iran is not now undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device".

Under the 2015 deal, Iran and world powers lifted global sanctions on Tehran.

They also challenged the president's claim that Tehran is actively seeking nuclear weapons, the justification Trump gave for withdrawing past year from a multilateral treaty on Iran. Trump has vehemently denied any connections and has frequently called the investigation a "witch hunt".

Trump warned any country that helps Iran obtain nuclear weapons would be "strongly sanctioned".

Coats also cited strains with allies under Trump's "America First" policies. "It would be reckless we think to abandon this commitment on the basis of paper promises from the North Koreans while they continue to threaten the region with both nuclear and conventional weapons".

Trump's nuanced but upbeat views on several global trouble spots came a day after US intelligence leaders gave a congressional panel a grim view of USA challenges overseas.

"Russia's social media efforts will continue to focus on aggravating social and racial tensions, undermining trust in authorities, and criticizing perceived anti-Russia politicians", his written threat assessment reads.

The report predicted additional USA -bound migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with migrants preferring to travel in caravans in hopes of a safer journey.

U.S. President Donald Trump defended his handling of perilous world threats on Wednesday.

Coats told the committee that Russian Federation and perhaps other countries will likely use social media and other means to influence the 2020 USA presidential election.