Donald Trump offered a blunt explanation for why he wants retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at his side as he gets his first classified briefing at FBI headquarters on Wednesday — he doesn’t trust intelligence information coming from those currently in charge.
“I think he’s a great guy. I’ve gotten to know him. He’s been a real fan of mine and defender of mine and he’s a terrific guy, a terrific general — tough, smart. Feels like I do about illegal immigration, in particular,” Trump told Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. “He wants to make sure the right people are coming into our country, not the people that we’re probably taking in right now. We don’t even know who we’re taking in. I mean, we have people coming into our country, we have no idea who they are, where they come from and he’s somebody that I believe in.”
Earhardt followed up by asking whether Trump trusts “intelligence.”
“Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. I mean, look what’s happened over the last 10 years. Look what’s happened over the years. It’s been catastrophic. And, in fact, I won’t use some of the people that are sort of your standards, you know, just use them, use them, use them, very easy to use them, but I won’t use them because they’ve made such bad decisions,” said Trump, who will also be joined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the inaugural briefing. “You look at Iraq. You look at the Middle East. It’s a total powder keg. It’s a — if we would have never touched it, it would have been a lot better. I mean, we would have been much better off. On top of which, we’ve spent probably $4 trillion. Nobody even knows what we’ve spent. So, no, I have great people, and Gen. Flynn is one of them.”
Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and a Trump supporter, said he agreed with Trump’s decision to have Flynn accompany him for the briefing.
“He should take Gen. Flynn with him to be able to ask critical questions. This is the art of being a good executive,” Giuliani explained. “If I were going to a national security briefing as a presidential candidate, and I’ve had top security clearances as associate attorney general, U.S. attorney, even as mayor during Sept. 11 in particular, I would take one or two experts with me to critically analyze it.”
Echoing Trump, Giuliani remarked, “the reality is, our intelligence has been terrible.”
“I mean, our intelligence has really let us down on a number of occasions, and there’s something substantially wrong with the way we gather intelligence,” Giuliani said. “When the president of the United States can say just a short really, just a short while ago that ISIS is the JV team, something is wrong with our intelligence.”