- The CIA reportedly went into “panic mode” in July when President Donald Trump appeared to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Kremlin’s election interference as they met in Helsinki, Finland.
- Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about Russia’s election interference and flip-flopped on the issue numerous times.
- Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 US election.
The CIA reportedly went into “panic mode” in July when President Donald Trump, in a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, appeared to side with Putin about the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
“There was this gasp” at the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, at the time, a US intelligence official told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
“You literally had people in panic mode watching it at Langley. On all floors. Just shock,” the official added.
The CIA and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment from INSIDER.
The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election at Putin’s behest in an effort to bolster Trump’s chances of winning. Putin has vehemently denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about Russia’s election interference and flip-flopped on the issue numerous times. The president’s inconsistent stance has added to suspicions that his campaign colluded with the Kremlin, though he has strongly rejected that allegation amid the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the matter.
During the meeting in July, Trump seemed to endorse Putin’s denials, describing them as “strong and powerful.”
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said at the time, adding that he didn’t “see any reason why” Russia would have interfered in the 2016 election.
The president was promptly accused of siding with Putin over the US intelligence community. Trump later claimed he misspoke.
“I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump said, though he added: “Could be other people also. There’s a lot of people out there.”
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