Trump says he holds Putin personally responsible for election meddling

19 July, 2018, 13:53 | Author: Cecil Davis
  • As White House Declares Summit a Success, Sanders Rips Trump-Putin Presser as 'Embarrassing Spectacle'

At a press briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump will "meet with his team" about Russia's proposal to interview former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, a harsh critic of Vladimir Putin, U.S. -born financier Bill Browder - who lobbied Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act that resulted in harsh sanctions on Russia and against whom the Kremlin retaliated by trying him in absentia for tax fraud- as well as other Americans in exchange for access to 12 Russian military intelligence officials indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

On Wednesday, he was asked during a Cabinet meeting if Russian Federation was still targeting the USA, and he answered "no" without elaborating.

Trump made no commitments to the Russian leader when Putin raised the idea at a private meeting in Helsinki on Monday and is "going to meet with his team", Sanders said.

"I'm done apologizing for Donald J. Trump", the Republican said. McFaul was United States ambassador to Russian Federation when President Barack Obama signed the Magnitsky Act into law, imposing harsh sanctions that Browder and McFaul supported.

Critics have accused Trump of siding with Russian Federation over his own country by failing to criticise Moscow for what us intelligence agencies previous year described as Russia's election interference in an attempt to sow discord, aid Trump's candidacy and disparage Trump's Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

A few hours earlier, Trump had answered "no" when asked if the longtime US foe was still targeting American elections. That came just days after National Intelligence Director Dan Coats sounded an alarm, comparing the cyberthreat today to how the way US officials said before 9/11 that intelligence channels were "blinking red" with warning signs that a terror attack was imminent.

Standing alongside Putin, Trump told reporters in Helsinki that he was not convinced it was Moscow. Susan Collins of ME said of Trump's one-word response. "Directly contradicted by DNI Coats, who just sounded the alarm about Russia's 'ongoing, ' pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".

But during his CBS chat on Wednesday, Trump went as far as saying he personally confronted Putin when they met in Helsinki.

In Tuesday's remarks at the White House, Trump said he had misspoken when he appeared to accept Putin's denials in Helsinki that Russian Federation had interfered in the 2016 election.

Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to defend the meeting, promising "big results" from better relations with Russian Federation and hitting back at "haters". He now says he has the highest regard for our intelligence services, but that regard was not on display in Helsinki.

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He added: "We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match". "It's called Trump Derangement Syndrome!" But he gave no details on how and when that might happen. He also sounded the alarm about potential attacks on USA infrastructure or the financial system.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., urged colleagues to set aside their differences over the 2016 election and join to prevent another crisis.

It shows frankly the outrageousness and the just desire to find the negative in everything that this President does, she said.

"This is being confused with propaganda, not the physical interference of an election", Rep. Massie said. He is pushing legislation with Democratic Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., that would slap new sanctions on Russian Federation or any other country caught posting ads, running fake news or otherwise interfering with election infrastructure.

Corker has been adamant about passing legislation that would restrict Trump's ability to impose tariffs, arguing that taxing United States allies pushes them away while strengthening Putin.

Amid bipartisan condemnation of Trump's embrace of a longtime US enemy in Helsinki, the USA president delivered a rare admission of error Tuesday. "But he does believe that they would target, certainly, U.S. elections again", Sanders said.

Republican Senator John McCain accused Trump of "playing right into Putin's hands" with the president's comments in a Fox News interview on Tuesday that appeared to question the American commitment to defend all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

At the joint news conference between Trump and Putin on Monday, Trump called it an "interesting idea". And the scripted cleanup pertained only to the least defensible of his comments. Instead, he went into a long rambling response including his demands for investigation of Clinton's email server and his description of Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denial of meddling. "He recognises the fact that 90 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons are under the direction of the U.S. and Russian Federation", she said. "I'd accept that. He's an expert. There was no collusion at all".

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, said on Twitter that there is a "BIG discrepancy" between Trump's statement and warning by Coats. "It's 24 hours too late and in the wrong place", he said. Trump replied, "Thank you very much. No". "What we intend to do is make sure they don't get away with it again and also to help our allies". Pompeo is to publicly testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 25.

In exchange, the Russian president offered to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller to observe interrogations of 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted by a USA grand jury last week for hacking Democratic Party e-mail accounts. Democratic leaders want to avoid any rhetoric that could support his point. A similar vote Tuesday in the House failed on a party-line vote.

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