- President Donald Trump was reportedly informed two weeks before his inauguration that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed the election meddling in the 2016 US presidential race.
- Despite knowing this information, Trump has publicly wavered over whether or not to condemn Putin and Russia for their actions.
President Donald Trump was informed two weeks before his inauguration that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed the election meddling into the 2016 US presidential race, according to The New York Times.
Trump was given classified information showing that Putin ordered cyberattacks to interfere with the presidential election. The information provided to Trump reportedly included texts and emails from Russian military personnel and information from a source close to Putin. The source close to Putin reportedly came to the CIA with the information on Russia’s actions.
Trump was grudgingly convinced by the information presented to him during the intel briefing on January 6, 2017, according to The Times.
But while the US intelligence community remains steadfast in its findings that Putin and Russia attempted to sway the election, Trump has publicly wavered over whether or not to condemn the Kremlin for its actions.
Standing next to Putin at a press conference in Helsinki, Finland on Monday, Trump indicated that he believes Russia over the intelligence community when it comes to the Kremlin’s meddling in the election.
“My people came to me – Dan Coats came to me, some others – they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said.
Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, issued a statement later that day strongly rebuking the president.
“We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective evidence in support of our national security,” he said.
On Tuesday during a meeting at the White House with congressional leaders, Trump said that he misspoke a day earlier when he didn’t back up the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the election.
On Wednesday during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump said “no” when asked whether the US is still a target of Russian-led cyberattacks and meddling into elections.
During Wednesday’s press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was saying “no” to taking more questions during the cabinet briefing.
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