The top US intelligence official on Monday stood by what he called "clear" assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election after President Donald Trump cast doubt on that conclusion following a summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is countering his boss, President Donald Trump, and doubling down on the assertion that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election.
When President Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies, "we hit bottom", CNN's Chris Cuomo said Monday night, but there's actually a "blessing in that, because there can be no more debate on which way is up".
Both explanations, though, are refuted by a growing body of evidence, including the indictment last week of 12 Russian intelligence agents - as part of the Mueller investigation - for their alleged role in hacking Democratic emails.
"I don't see any reason why it would be" Russia, Trump said.
In his opening remarks, Trump did not mention Russian interference in USA elections; or Putin's invasion of Ukraine; or the Kremlin's ostensible new habit of launching botched assassination attempts with Soviet-era nerve agents on the streets of the United Kingdom.
The South Carolina senator also recommended Trump check a soccer ball Putin gifted to him for "listening devices" and urged him to never bring it to the White House.
"Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse", Mr Trump tweeted yesterday, blaming "many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!".
US President Donald Trump speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland.
Chuck Schumer, the senior Democrat in the Senate called Trump's appearance of siding with Putin over the allegations of election interference "dangerous and weak".
"Russia is an authoritarian regime that has attacked our democracy and continues to undermine the security of the United States and our allies", her statement said. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago.
Days before the summit, Coats had spoken publicly of his concerns about cyber threats to USA national security and singled out Russian Federation as the most aggressive foreign actor in that arena. "Received many calls from leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries thanking me for helping to bring them together and to get them focused on financial obligations, both present & future", the president tweeted.
"I did hear this rumor that we allegedly collected compromising material when President Trump was in Moscow..."
President Trump says he doesn't know if he agrees with a warning from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats about the "critical" threat of potentially devastating cyberattacks targeting US systems. "But I really do want to see the server". "The Cold War is a thing of the past, the situation in the world has drastically changed", said Putin.
President Donald Trump in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor in Turnberry, Scotland on Saturday, July 14, 2018.
The summit, which is being closely watched around the world, was not the first time Trump and Putin have held talks.
Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger called Trump's comments rebuking the U.S. intelligence community assessment "a disservice", though he did not mention Trump by name.
But Trump defended meeting with Putin, saying: "I will do what is best for the American people".