TRUMP: I ‘strongly pressed’ Putin on election meddling, and we discussed forming an ‘impenetrable cyber security unit’

President Donald Trump on Sunday said he “strongly pressed” Russian President Vladimir Putin about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election during the pair’s bilateral meeting Friday.

In a series of tweets, Trump said he and Putin did not discuss lifting sanctions on Russia over its incursions into Ukraine. And he announced that the US and Russia would form a joint cybersecurity task force, an eyebrow-raising move amid the consensus from US intelligence agencies that Russia directed the hacking and leaking of embarrassing internal communications from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta.

“Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” Trump said.

Here are the tweets:

Some Russia hawks, like Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Linsey Graham, were quick to condemn the proposed cybersecurity unit, arguing that it is hard to imagine Russia would act in good faith following its interference in the 2016 election. 

Trump has continued to express doubt about whether he truly believes that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

The New York Times reported that Trump asked Putin almost immediately about the election interference and continued to discuss the subject for 40 minutes with the Russian president.

Yet Putin said Saturday that Trump seemed “satisfied” with the Russian president’s answers to questions about the meddling, and the meeting was celebrated in Russian media outlets.

The administration’s official position has differed among top American officials, as some have taken a harder line on Russia than others.

“President Putin did exactly what we thought he would do, which is deny it,” United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley told CNN on Sunday. “This is Russia trying to save face. And they can’t. Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections.”