Despite all the intelligence to the contrary, President Trump believes the Russian dictator.

“He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he flew from Da Nang to Hanoi in Vietnam. Trump spoke to Putin three times on the sidelines of summit here, where the Russia meddling issue arose.
“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,'” Trump said. “And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”

The current Commander-in-Chief isn’t the only president who was mesmerized by Vladdy Putin’s Eyes:

Mr. Bush said of Mr. Putin: “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

It should go without mention that the previous president may also have been under Vlad’s spell given that he did a lot of looking away in pursuit of a “reset”, until he could no longer look away. Even Trump’s own US Ambassador to Russia doesn’t agree with his boss.

“There is no question — underline no question — that the Russia government interfered with the U.S. election last year and Moscow continues to meddle in processes of our friends and allies,” Huntsman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in his opening statement.

How’s that for mixed messaging. In addition to undermining his own intelligence community, it’s unclear to me whether Trump’s following comment is a prediction or a threat.

“This artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way and that’s a shame because people will die because of it,” he said. “And it’s a pure hit job.”

So, uh, people will die because Mueller is investigating the extent of Putin’s meddling? There are two possibilities: He’s lying through his teeth or he’s f**king delusional. Either way, not good, for anyone. Trump supporters are making the mistake of listening to him and his defenders while closing their eyes and ears to conservatives who are using common sense.

This is my standoff sigh.

Update: Earlier today, the CIA confirmed that they weren’t bedazzled by Putin’s repeated denials.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo stands by US intelligence assessments that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, the agency said Saturday, despite President Donald Trump saying he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says his country didn’t interfere.

“The Director stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment entitled: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” the CIA said in a statement when asked for reaction to the president’s remarks. “The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.”
So, uh, does that mean that the CIA Director–picked by none other than Trump himself–is also a “political hack”?