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Trump Was Told 2 Weeks Before Inauguration Putin Ordered Election Cyberattacks

Two weeks before taking office, Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.  The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

On Monday, standing next to the Russian president in Helsinki, Finland, Mr. Trump said he accepted Mr. Putin’s denial of Russian election intrusions. By Tuesday, faced with a bipartisan political outcry, Mr. Trump sought to walk back his words and sided with his intelligence agencies.  But on Wednesday, when asked, “Is Russia still targeting the U.S.?” Mr. Trump shot back, “No” — directly contradicting statements made only days earlier by his director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, who was sitting a few chairs away in the Cabinet Room.

Of course, The White House later said he was responding to a different question.

Hours later, in a CBS News interview, Mr. Trump seemed to reverse course again. He blamed Mr. Putin  indirectly “because he’s in charge of the country.”  Almost as soon as he took office, Mr. Trump began casting doubts on the intelligence on Russia’s election interference, though never taking issue with its specifics.  He dismissed it broadly as a fabrication by Democrats and part of a “witch hunt” against him. He raised unrelated issues, including the state of investigations into Mrs. Clinton’s home computer server, to distract attention from the central question of Russia’s role — and who, if anyone, in Mr. Trump’s immediate orbit may have worked with them.

In July 2017, just after meeting Mr. Putin for the first time, Mr. Trump told a New York Times reporter that the Russian president had made a persuasive case that Moscow’s cyberskills were so good that the government’s hackers would never have been caught. Therefore, Mr. Trump recounted from his conversation with Mr. Putin, Russia must not have been responsible.

That is what happened again this week, twice.

For more:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html


 

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