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Allies Against Islam: David Brooks on What Connects Trump and Putin

New York Times columnist offered his assessment on what links President-elect Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump and Putin.
Don Emmert and Natalia Kolesnikova, AFP

New York Times columnist and author David Brooks discussed the ongoing controversy surrounding the alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. election and President-elect Trump's reluctance to accept intelligence reports indicating the hack came from Russia.

"This thing is happening on two levels," Brooks noted. "The first level is the gravitational pull of Donald Trump's ego, which is like Jupiter coming through the solar system, around which everything must revolve. And he cannot admit that he won this election with anybody else's help. And so he just wants to say, 'It's me, it's me.'"

When pushed to explain why Trump has been voicing support for closer ties with Russia, Brooks insisted, "Bannon and others in the international tea party movement do not support that order. They see Russia as a potential ally of nationalist populists against Islam. And that would be a fundamental shift in American foreign policy if we're more pro Russia than we are pro NATO."

RealClearPolitics

Brooks spoke the same day President-elect Donald Trump's incoming chief of staff said Trump accepts the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks during the U.S. presidential election and may take action in response.

Reince Priebus said Trump believed Russia was behind the intrusions into the Democratic Party organizations, although Priebus did not clarify whether the president-elect agreed that the hacks were directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"He accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia, so that's not the issue," Priebus said on "Fox News Sunday."

It was the first acknowledgment from a senior member of the Republican president-elect's team that Trump had accepted that Russia directed the hacking and subsequent disclosure of Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election.