Trump Casts Doubt on US Intelligence on Russian Hack

“It could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries.”

Trump in Warsaw on Russian Election Meddling

He needs some new material.

Posted by Mother Jones Video on Thursday, July 6, 2017

With one more day to go before his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump on Thursday once again cast doubt on US intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

“Well, I think it was Russia, and I think it could have been other people in other countries,” Trump said at a press conference in Warsaw with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “It could have been a lot of people interfered.” (Trump has previously suggested China or “some 400 pound guy” could also be responsible for hacking into email accounts of Democratic officials.)

Trump then seemed to backtrack, suggesting that the intelligence was uncertain: “I think it could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries, and I won’t be specific, but I think a lot of people interfere.” Trump added that President Barack Obama “found out about this—in terms of, if it were Russia—found out about it in August.” Trump proceeded to blame Obama for not responding effectively to the interference.

After a reporter pointed out that US intelligence agencies have been “far more definitive” than Trump in declaring that Russia interfered in the election, Trump sought to cast doubt on that intelligence. He emphasized that the intelligence assessment was produced by just “three or four” of the country’s 17 intelligence agencies.

“I agree,” Trump added. “I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.”

Trump then invoked past US intelligence failures, saying that “everybody was 100 percent sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what: That led to one big mess. They were wrong.”

“So it was Russia, and I think it was probably others also, and that’s been going on for a long period of time,” added Trump.

Despite the evidence pointing to Russian hacking, as well as bipartisan acknowledgement that the Kremlin actively worked to undermine Hillary Clinton, White House officials have indicated Trump is unlikely to broach the subject during his meeting with Putin Friday.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate