In a statement that has been buried by the rest of Trump's barrage of soundbites today, including the ongoing back on forth verbal war on North Korea, as well as Mueller, Manafort and McConnell, during his second meeting with reporters at his golf complex in Bedminster, President Trump said something which could push his war with the intel community and the "deep state" into uncharted territory.
In his first public comment on the recent decision by the Kremlin to seize two US compounds and kick out 755 US diplomats in retaliation for a similar move by Obama in December, Trump said "I want to thank" Russian President Vladimir Putin for ousting hundreds of US embassy employees "because we're trying to cut down our payroll."
Q: Thoughts on Putin expelling US diplomats?
Trump: "I greatly appreciate the fact that they’ve been able to cut our payroll." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/iR5JbHLHZj
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 10, 2017
The president said the move would "cut payroll." And even as many have received the comments in jest, we are confident that hundreds of humorless spooks will use this as a green light to leak even more NSA intercepts. Trump has so far been quiet on the expulsion of US workers from Russia.
"I greatly appreciate the fact that we've been able to cut our payroll of the United States," Trump said, adding "we're going to save a lot of money… there's no real reason for them to go back."
Hardly a glowing endorsement of the US "intelligence" apparatus.
Trump did not stop here, and noting of Putin's decision, said "I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll."
“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll."
"There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”
Following the latest sanctions targeting Russia, North Korea, and Iran, Moscow moved to reduce the number of US diplomatic personnel by 755 people, bringing parity to the size of diplomatic staffs in each country. Previously, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had said "the expulsions of our US diplomats and other citizens who are working over there at our embassy, we consider that to be a regrettable step."