Trump 'Giving Putin a Pass' on Election Meddling, Say Ex-Intelligence Chiefs

Lester Mason
November 15, 2017

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday on CNN " s "State of the Union" that Trump's downplaying of the threat posed by Russia's meddling in last year's election was unsafe to USA national security and allows countries like Russian Federation and China to "play" the President.

Addressing a press conference in Hanoi, Trump was asked to clarify comments he had made on Air Force One the day before about Putin's insistence that Moscow had never tried to affect the outcome of the United States vote.

"People don't realize Russian Federation has been very, very heavily sanctioned".

"I don't spend a lot of time trying to evaluate and analyze why the president comes to the conclusions he comes to", Toomey said. "Every time he sees me he says, 'I didn't do that, ' and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it".

Putin said that a mooted bilateral sit-down meeting with Trump did not happen at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, citing scheduling issues on both sides and unspecified protocol issues.

A special counsel's examination of potential collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign aides so far has led to indictments against Trump's former campaign chairperson and another top aide for crimes unrelated to the campaign, and a guilty plea from a Trump foreign policy adviser for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A special counsel, Robert Mueller, is conducting an investigation that has led to charges against Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates.

Members of the US intelligence community have concluded that Russia interfered with the 2016 campaign, specifically by stealing thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee, contradicting statements made by the Russian president.

"Having a good relationship with Russia's a great, great thing". The Kremlin, meanwhile, said Trump didn't bring up election meddling at all. Former CIA Director John Brennan said Trump is allowing Putin to get away with Russia's efforts to disrupt the presidential election.

Trump on Saturday also dismissed former officials like Clapper, Brennan and former FBI Director James Comey as "political hacks". "To believe otherwise is not only naive but also places our national security at risk", McCain said in a statement. Putin is a former KGB officer and ex-head of Russia's FSB security service.

In May, US intelligence chiefs told Congress that they agreed with their analysts' conclusion that Russian Federation had meddled in the election.

"The President fools no one".

Questions about whether Trump believes the assessment about Russian election-meddling have trailed him since January, when he said for the first time, shortly before taking office, that he accepted that Russia was behind the election-year hacking of Democrats that roiled the White House race.

He reiterated that on Sunday, telling reporters in Vietnam that "President Obama wanted to get along with Russian Federation, but the chemistry wasn't there".

The problem is, in January, the FBI, CIA, and NSA clearly assessed that Russian Federation did interfere in the election - and that Putin was behind it.

Let's say this again, as a clear declaration: Russian Federation attacked our elections.

As the APEC summit drew nearer, it became clear that the Russian president would not bring any agenda to Vietnam that suggested a willingness to reverse course or offer major concessions to USA preferences regarding Russian policy on North Korea, Syria, Iran and Ukraine.

But on Sunday, Trump walked back on his initial language, saying, "I believe [Putin] believes that, and that's very important for somebody to believe". "I would rather. get to work with him on the Ukraine rather than standing and arguing".

However speaking at the news conference in Hanoi, Mr Trump backed away from those comments.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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