Trump remark sparks confusion over position on ongoing Russian interference

Lester Mason
July 20, 2018

U.S. President Donal Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin appear for a joint press conference following a private meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday. I think Dan Coats is excellent. we have excellent people.

How did Trump answer that question?

"No", Trump told reporters at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday afternoon in response to a question regarding whether Russian Federation was still targeting US elections.

The day after he tried to quiet a political uproar over his failure to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin during their Helsinki summit for Moscow's 2016 US election meddling, Trump adopted his usual defiant posture and dismissed assessments of Russia from the intelligence community.

"I can only say that I do have confidence in our intelligence agencies as now constituted", Trump said to CBS News.

"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place", Trump conceded on Tuesday.

Trump stunned the world on Monday by shying away from criticising the Russian leader for Moscow's actions to undermine the 2016 presidential election, sparking bipartisan fury at home and prompting calls by some USA lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to punish Russia.

At a daily briefing, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said she had yet to find any precedent for compelling a presidential interpreter to testify, and that "no formal request ... at this point" has been made for Gross to do so.

But Trump stopped short of alleging Putin was dishonest and said he did not "want to get into whether or not he's lying".

"I have every confidence (Russia) will continue to try to up their game and create more chaos" this year, Cornyn told reporters in a Capitol hallway.

Later, Ms Vega tweeted that the president had been looking directly at her when he answered. Vega said on Twitter that she thought the president was responding to her question, not ushering reporters out. The aftermath of their meeting comes down to White House claims involving two words: "not" and "no".


McFaul himself called on the White House to clear the air. "If he were to do that, I think that would absolutely be grounds for removal from office", the California Democrat said Wednesday in an interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront".

White House/YouTubeNBC News chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson asks a question during Wednesday's press briefing.

"The president has made clear to Vladimir Putin that he should stay out of USA elections", Sanders said.

Asked again whether the president believed that Russian meddling was going on, Sanders said "since there is now not an election today, not specifically", adding that "we believe that we are taking steps to make sure they can't do it again, unlike previous administrations".

Trump, facing uproar over his failure to confront Putin over Russia's 2016 USA election meddling, adopted his usual defiant posture two days after their Helsinki summit and called his critics deranged.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) was even more forceful in threatening the president if the administration agrees with Putin's proposal. Browder has said he helped expose corruption in Russian Federation.

HORSLEY: It sounds like sort of typical Trumpian hyperbole, but some analysts I've talked with say it's not without foundation.

The president's assertion would conflict with a statement issued Monday by National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, who said Russian Federation has "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".

Trump on Tuesday claimed he had misspoken and attempted to clarify that he meant to say there was no reason why it "wouldn't" be Russian Federation who interfered in 2016.

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"I let him [Putin] know we can't have this, we're not going to have it, and that's the way it's going to be".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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