- Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in her new book that President Donald Trump was “surprised” when she confronted him about his July 2018 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- During the joint press conference with Putin, Trump said he didn’t see “any reason” Russia would have meddled in the 2016 US election, despite his own intelligence agencies’ assessments to the contrary.
- In her new book, “With All Due Respect,” Haley wrote that she confronted Trump after the summit and told him his siding with Putin on the issue of election meddling made her “very uncomfortable.”
- Trump later said he misspoke on the issue and reiterated his confidence in US intelligence agencies.
- Haley said she appreciated that Trump issued additional remarks and said it was all part of his strategy to “disarm” global leaders with his candor.
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Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, said that President Donald Trump was “surprised” when she confronted him about his July 2018 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump backed Russia over his own intelligence agencies on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US elections.
In her new book, “With All Due Respect,” which Business Insider obtained in advance of its Tuesday release, Haley said she immediately requested a meeting with the president after his head-scratching joint press conference with Putin. The two world leaders held the press conference in Helsinki after a two-hour private meeting in which they were accompanied only by their interpreters.
During the press conference, the president sidestepped questions about Russian election interference, despite US intelligence assessments that pointed to Russian election meddling.
“I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said. “I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Haley, who served in her role for almost two years, said she called the president and arranged a meeting after first facing efforts by Trump’s chief of staff at the time, John Kelly, to stall her request. She said she confronted Trump and told him his siding with Putin made her “very uncomfortable.”
“I told the president what he said in the press conference made me very uncomfortable,” she wrote. “The Russians aren’t our friends. They will never be our friends. And he made it sound like we were beholden to them.”
Haley wrote that Trump was taken aback by her blunt criticism of his meeting.
“The president was surprised,” she wrote. “No one around him had characterised the press conference in that way.”
She continued: “But I was always honest with the president, even when others around him weren’t. And the truth was that the Russians did meddle in our elections. They were continuing to try and manipulate us. They sought strength by creating chaos in the world. We couldn’t let our guard down, not for a second.”
Haley in her book also praised what she described as Trump’s willingness to “hear the bad news.”
Trump later walked back his comments from the conference, saying he had “full faith” in US intelligence agencies and had misspoke. Haley said that she appreciated that Trump issued additional remarks and that it was all part of his strategy to “disarm” global leaders with his candor.
Despite Trump’s clarifications at the time, however, he has since repeatedly attacked the US intelligence community and refrained from criticising Russia for its election meddling and has disputed that any of the meddling was meant to help him.Multiple intelligence agencies and the special counsel Robert Muller concluded that there was Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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- Nikki Haley says John Kelly and Rex Tillerson asked her to defy Trump to ‘save the country’ from the inside
- Republicans blast Trump for his ‘disgusting’ press conference with Putin
- Putin attacks US reporter’s question about Mueller probe and collusion
- Trump says he doesn’t ‘see any reason’ Russia would have hacked the US election