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“The last administration had it exactly backwards.” White House officials cast the president’s refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in the election as an understandably human reaction. “Our first order in dealing with Russia is trying to counter a lot of the destabilizing activity that Russia engages in.” Others questioned how such an effort could succeed when the rationale for that objective is routinely rejected by the president. Hayden, who served as CIA director under President George W.

“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” said a second former senior U. The CIA continues to stand by its conclusions about the election, for example, even as the agency’s director, Mike Pompeo, frequently makes comments that seem to diminish or distort those findings. Comey traveled separately on an FBI Gulfstream aircraft, planning to extend his stay for meetings with bureau officials. The four men had convened a virtual meeting the previous evening, speaking by secure videoconference to plan their presentation to the incoming president of a classified report on Russia’s election interference and its pro-Trump objective.Trump took a seat at one end of a large table, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the other.Among the others present were Priebus, Pompeo and designated national security adviser Michael Flynn.And a wave of diplomatic retaliation has cost Russia access to additional diplomatic facilities, including its San Francisco consulate. Current and former officials said that his daily intelligence update — known as the president’s daily brief, or PDB — is often structured to avoid upsetting him.Russia-related intelligence that might draw Trump’s ire is in some cases included only in the written assessment and not raised orally, said a former senior intelligence official familiar with the matter.

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