White House

Trump Declines to Back U.S. Intel Conclusion That Russia Meddled in Election

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. (Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

President Trump declined to endorse the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in an extraordinary press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday.

When asked about the intelligence community’s assessment, Trump changed the subject to the Democratic National Committee’s servers and Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that,” the president said. “What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone, just gone.”

“President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said, moments after Putin reiterated Russia’s repeated claim that it had not meddled in the election.

The Justice Department on Friday indicted twelve Russian military officers for crimes related to the election, including hacking into the DNC server and stealing the login information of Clinton associates such as campaign chairman John Podesta. At the press conference Monday, Putin said that he would consider extraditing the twelve officers, but added that he did not know the details of the situation.

Trump also slammed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, insisting again that there was “zero collusion” and that the probe into his campaign’s dealings with Russia has had a “negative impact” on the relationship between the two countries.

Congressmen on both sides of the aisle reacted with dismay to the press conference, calling it a “missed opportunity” to hold Russia accountable for election interference.

Senator Jeff Flake called the president’s comments “shameful.”

“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful,” the Arizona Republican wrote on Twitter.

Democrats were harsher. Senator Elizabeth Warren said that Trump took the stage to “embarrass America, undermine our institutions, weaken our alliances, & embrace a dictator.” Senator Mark Warner said Trump’s abandonment of the intelligence community’s conclusions was a “complete disgrace.”

NOW WATCH: ‘Putin’s World Vision’

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Did Flynn Lie?

At the outset, let’s get two things straight: First, there is something deeply disturbing about the Obama administration’s decision to open a counterintelligence investigation on retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn while he was working on the Trump campaign — and, ultimately, about the Justice ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Where Is the Flynn 302?

Better late than never (I hope), my weekend column has posted on the website. It deals with the question whether General Michael Flynn actually lied to the FBI agents — including the now infamous Peter Strzok — when they interviewed him in the White House on his third day on the job as national security ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Who’s in Charge Here?

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump was asked on many occasions whether he would “accept the results” of the election if he were to lose. Democrats and their media allies demanded that he make a solemn vow to “accept the results.” It was never entirely clear what anybody thought ... Read More

Remembering Christopher Hitchens

Tributes to the late Christopher Hitchens, who died seven years ago yesterday, are trending on Twitter. Hardly surprising. Hitchens had one of those rare, magnetic personalities and a genius for friendship according to some of the most talented writers around today such as Douglas Murray, Christopher Buckley, and ... Read More

G-File Mailbag: The Results of a Bad Idea

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including those of you just standing there eating Zarg nuts), I had a bad idea. It wasn’t a terrible idea, like asking a meth addict ... Read More