ASPEN, Colo.—With many of the nation’s leading national-security experts gathered here this week, the tension between President Donald Trump and several of his highest-ranking intelligence and law-enforcement officials was hard to miss. Speaking at the annual conference, the FBI director and the director of national intelligence didn’t deny that they had considered resigning over Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community. The deputy attorney general announced a new Justice Department policy to expose and counter foreign-influence operations of the kind Trump has consistently downplayed. And the homeland security secretary said she did “not disagree” when asked about the conclusion that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to elect Trump.
The security forum began two days after Trump met with Putin in Helsinki and touched off a furor by equating the intelligence community’s assessment with Putin’s reassurances that there had been no election attack. Back in Washington, Trump generated more confusion when he seemed to answer “no” when asked by a reporter if Moscow is still targeting the U.S. (The White House later said he wasn’t answering the question, but rather declining to take media inquiries.) “He’s got his view,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray, speaking at the forum. “He’s expressed his view. I can tell you what my view is. The intelligence community’s assessment has not changed, my view has not changed, which is that Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and that it continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day.”