Trump Rejects US Intelligence Agencies Day After Claiming He Backed Them

The White House later attempted to clarify Trump’s “no” response.

Update, 4:10 pm EST: In a press briefing shortly after Trump’s cabinet meeting, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that Trump was responding “no” to taking more questions from reporters—not to the question of whether Russia continues to target US elections, as US intelligence agencies have definitively concluded.

President Donald Trump told reporters that Russia is no longer threatening US elections, despite repeated assessments from intelligence officials, including most recently his own director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, that the Kremlin is doing exactly that.

“No,” was Trump’s simple response after being asked if Russia is targeting upcoming elections during a Wednesday cabinet meeting. The president’s curt answer flies in the face of Coats’ warning last week that signs of Russian meddling are “blinking red again.”

Trump continued on to claim that no president in US history has been more “tough” against Russia. “All you have to do is look at the numbers, look at what we’ve done. Look at sanctions, look at ambassadors not here. Look unfortunately at what happened in Syria recently,” he explained. He also insisted that Russian President Vladimir Putin is unhappy with various actions taken by the US.  

Trump’s response comes after several head-spinning public remarks this week concerning Russian interference, beginning when he sided with Russia over US intelligence and law enforcement agencies during a Helsinki press conference alongside Putin on Monday. One day later, amid blistering criticism over his performance in Finland, Trump read from a prepared statement that claimed he had simply misspoken . “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,'” Trump said. “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t’ or ‘why it wouldn’t be Russia.’”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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