President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani: Trump would agree to interview with Mueller if no questions on obstruction Haley: Russia ‘never will be’ friend of US Massachusetts passes NASTY Women Act repealing 173-year-old abortion ban MORE on Tuesday said he is “very concerned” that Russia will attempt to interfere in this year’s midterm elections, claiming Moscow “will be pushing very hard” to support Democrats.
I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018
The tweet is the latest in a week’s worth of mixed messages Trump has sent on Russia since he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last Monday.
Trump stood next to Putin in Helsinki and cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election — with the intention of helping to elect Trump. He blasted the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling as a “witch hunt” and said Putin offered a “strong and powerful” denial.
He has since attempted to backtrack on those remarks and express confidence in the intelligence community, but muddled his corrections with repeated claims that the meeting with Putin was unfairly covered, that others besides Moscow could have been involved in election meddling and that the Russian interference is a “big hoax.”
Trump also appeared to tell reporters “no” when asked last week whether he believed Russia was still a threat. However, the White House later claimed he was saying “no” to answering additional questions.
Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsDHS: Russian hackers got into control rooms of US utilities Cyber warfare policy included in final version of annual defense policy bill Hillicon Valley: Trump considers revoking Obama-era officials’ security clearances | Record lobbying quarter for Facebook, Amazon | Why Hollywood wants Google hauled before Congress | New worries about supply chain cyber threats MORE warned shortly before Trump’s meeting with Putin that warning signs were “blinking red” to indicate Russia was preparing to launch another cyberattack.
Trump has regularly claimed that no president has been tougher on Russia than him, but he has drawn bipartisan criticism for his reluctance to call out Putin, particularly on the matter of election interference.
Administration officials have, in many cases, seemed to work around Trump’s rhetoric. They note the administration has armed Ukrainians, bombed Syria, expelled Russian diplomats and even implemented new sanctions, to which Trump first objected.
Meanwhile, Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Questions mount over Trump’s Iran tweet | House, Senate unveil compromise defense bill | Bill includes Russia sanctions waivers, limits on Turkey’s access to F-35 | Endangered species measures dropped The Hill’s Morning Report — This week: Russia, migrant families, tariffs This week: House GOP heads for the exit MORE (R-Fla.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenHillicon Valley: Trump’s Russia moves demoralize his team | Congress drops effort to block ZTE deal | Rosenstein warns of foreign influence threat | AT&T’s latest 5G plans On The Money: Trump ‘ready’ for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal Overnight Defense: White House ‘not considering’ Ukraine referendum | Pompeo hopeful on plans for Putin visit | Measure to block ZTE deal dropped from defense bill MORE (D-Md.) have co-authored a bill that would hit Russia with additional sanctions if it is found to have interfered in future elections. The senators have requested a committee vote on the legislation by early next month.
The president has also frequently told reporters that he believes improved relations with Russia would be a positive development, and said prior to departing for Europe earlier this month that he hoped Putin could someday be a friend.
At the press conference in Finland, Putin told reporters he wanted Trump to win the 2016 election.
“Yes, I did, because he was the one who wanted to normalize relations with Russia,” Putin said.
Published at Tue, 24 Jul 2018 15:58:51 +0000