With global attention—and much speculation—focused on their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany on Friday, a handful of former spies said the experienced Russian President Vladimir Putin had the likely advantage over U.S. President Donald Trump, a novice in terms of world affairs and a man described as “sociopathic narcissist” in terms of temperament.
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While Trump said it was “an honor” to meet with Putin as the two made brief comments to reporters ahead of their scheduled closed-door meeting in Hamburg Friday morning, the ex-spies who spoke with The Daily Beast‘s Spencer Ackerman in advance warned that the Russian president, himself a former intelligence officer, would likely put “his tradecraft as a spy to work” in order to exploit Trump’s weaknesses, specifically his “massive, delicate ego.”
According to Glenn Carle, a retired CIA interrogator and analyst, the U.S. president is an easy mark for someone as sophisticated and practiced as Putin. “Trump is just about a sociopathic narcissist,” Carle told the Daily Beast. “That’s not to denounce him, just an assessment of the guy… Fulsome praise, full of garbage, is a small price to pay to get what you want.”
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