The Washington Post has published an excerpt of a forthcoming book written by their reporter Greg Miller titled, The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy.
The excerpt is filled with remarkable new reporting, including this story that Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin tried to bond with President Donald Trump by telling the American leader that his own government was working against him:
A trained intelligence operative, Putin understood the power of playing to someone’s insecurities and ego. On cue, he reciprocated with frequent praise for the president he had sought to install in the White House.
In phone conversations with Trump, Putin would whisper conspiratorially, telling the U.S. president that it wasn’t their fault that they could not consummate the relationship that each had sought. Instead, Putin sought to reinforce Trump’s belief that he was being undermined by a secret government cabal, a bureaucratic “deep state.”
“It’s not us. We get it,” Putin would tell Trump, according to White House aides. “It’s the subordinates fighting against our friendship.”
The book also reveals that Trump was not satisfied with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s claim of 95 percent certainty of Russian involvement in the nerve agent attack on Sergei and Iulia Skripal that took place on English soil. “Maybe we should get to 98 percent,” the president said.
Finally, after Trump spoke at Memorial Wall in CIA headquarters in January 2017, shortly after his inauguration, some agency employees initiated a mourning ritual:
That week, something occurred that officials had seen only in the aftermath of a CIA tragedy. Flowers began to accumulate at the foot of the Memorial Wall on Monday, as the agency returned to work. By week’s end there was a small mound of bouquets placed by employees who passed by the stars in silence.