Trump Says 'No' to Russia Currently Targeting the US

July 18, 2018 - 10:40 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was asked at the end of a Cabinet meeting if Russia was still targeting the United States. The president said, "no," contradicting recent warnings from his top intelligence chief.

Trump's comment came after National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said last Friday that warning lights about overall cyber threats to the U.S. are "blinking red" -- much like "blinking red" signals warned before the 9/11 attacks.

Trump did not elaborate on the threat posed by Russia, telling reporters that no American president has been as "tough" on Russia as he has been.

Russia has been the most aggressive foreign actor, but cyber threats also are coming from China, Iran and North Korea, as well as criminal networks and individual hackers, Coats said last week.

U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers, accusing them of hacking into the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Party.

Russia has denied state involvement.


12:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is claiming that no American president has been as "tough" on Russia as he has been, amid ongoing criticism of his Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump asserted at the end of a Cabinet meeting Wednesday that there has been "no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia." He cites U.S. sanctions on Russia and the expulsion of alleged Russian spies from the U.S.

The president says Putin "understands it, and he's not happy about it."

Trump convened a meeting of his Cabinet after his talks with Putin.

On Tuesday, the president had taken back comments he made alongside Putin that called into question U.S. intelligence findings of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.


11:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his Europe trip last week, including meetings at NATO, with British leaders, and Russian President Vladimir Putin was "a tremendous success."

Speaking before a meeting of his Cabinet at the White House on Wednesday, Trump is defending a trip that has drawn bipartisan criticism for his contentious treatment of American allies and embrace of the Russian leader.

Trump says the Cabinet meeting will focus on workforce development, saying American businesses are searching for highly skilled employees.

The president adds that he wants American workers to have the skills to find a new job if they don't like the one they currently hold.

Trump says he will make an announcement on worker training Thursday.


10:50 a.m.

To Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer says President Donald Trump is already "back to his old ways" despite efforts to clarify his remarks following the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Schumer said Wednesday the president is "walking back the walk-back."

The New York senator said Trump's tweets and comments show he is "back to celebrating his meeting with Putin."

Trump said Tuesday he misspoke when he questioned why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election -- he says he meant to say why "wouldn't" it be Russia.

Schumer says Congress cannot simply say "tsk, tsk, bad president" and return to business as usual.

The senator renewed calls for Congress to hold hearings on Trump's private session with Putin and to pass legislation protecting special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.


8:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump says some people "HATE" the fact that he "got along well" with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Trump says Wednesday on Twitter that "they would rather go to war than see this."

He's also adopting the term some of his defenders and conservative media have applied to Trump critics. Trump says in the tweet that "it's called Trump Derangement Syndrome!"

The term has popped up recently among Fox News anchors, and Sen. Rand Paul used the term this week for the president's critics.

Trump is known to spend mornings watching "Fox and Friends." He sent Wednesday's tweet about the supposed syndrome about half an hour after "Fox and Friends" host Brian Kilmeade uttered the phrase on air.

The president held a closely watched summit with Putin this week in Finland. He sought at the White House on Tuesday to take back comments he made alongside Putin that called into question U.S. intelligence findings of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.


6:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump says on Twitter that Russia has pledged to help in high-stakes negotiations with North Korea, but he's giving no details on how and when that might lead to removal of the North's nuclear armaments.

Trump tweeted early Wednesday: "Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along."

Trump is defending his meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin and a press conference in which he said the U.S. had been "foolish" and doubted U.S. intelligence that found Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Under pressure from his own party, Trump walked back his comments on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he tweeted that he and Putin got along well, which "truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match."


6:12 a.m.

President Donald Trump is talking up his Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, seemingly congratulating himself and promising "big results."

Taking to Twitter early on Wednesday Trump wrote, "so many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki."

He made no mention of having walked back comments at his summit press conference that suggested a lack of confidence in U.S. intelligence agencies.

Trump says he and Putin discussed many important subjects.

"We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match," he wrote.


12:22 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his Helsinki summit with Russia's president as a "great success" and blaming what he calls "the Fake News Media" for contrary views.

The president already backed off his earlier remarks undermining U.S. intelligence agencies, saying Tuesday he had simply misspoken a day earlier when he said he saw no reason to believe Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

Trump sought to end 27 hours of bipartisan recrimination by delivering a rare admission of error. But that didn't explain why Trump waited so long to correct his remarks. And the scripted cleanup pertained only to the least defensible of his comments.

The president had tweeted a half-dozen times and sat for two television interviews since the Putin news conference before citing the error.

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