Donald Trump returned to the G20 summit in Germany and announced that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would be partnering up to create a “cyber security unit” to protect against election fraud.
Many are confused by this move as the United States intelligence agencies agree that it was the Russian “hacking” of the 2016 U.S. election that secured Mr. Trump’s victory. Trump denies that Russia was involved and tweeted that Putin had denied it as well. This did little to assuage the fears of Russian meddling, considering that investigators have evidence of Russian cyber attacks on the election, including a leaked NSA document stating that hackers working for the Russian military intelligence had attempted to take over the computers of 122 local election officials right before the 2016 election.
Trump returned home from Germany on Sunday. He claimed victory at the G20, amidst vocal criticisms — including detraction of his daughter, Ivanka, sitting in for him at a panel of world leaders, and for his lack of closing remarks at the end of the summit, which made Trump the first U.S. president to not give a closing speech at a G20. Critics speculated that this was exemplary of America’s waning power on the world stage.
However, Trump points to the deals he has struck with President Putin as proof of a successful trip. Trump had a Meeting with Putin that was scheduled to last for 30 minutes but ended up taking almost two hours. Notably, a ceasefire in Syria was negotiated this weekend, and the new plan for a joint cyber security unit was announced Sunday, in typically Trump fashion, via Twitter.
Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
Trump denies any Russian involvement in the election, but the intelligence community says otherwise. All investigations point to Russia as the source of meddling in the election processes of at least 39 states. The announcement of a cyber partnership between the U.S and Russia lead to scorn and condemnation, with critics suspecting that this was a Russian ruse to get even more of a cyber stranglehold over the United States.
To be clear: Trump wants to form a cyber security unit with the leader of the country that interfered in our election with cyber attacks. https://t.co/NZR0KlVLxe
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 9, 2017
It's like two foxes saying 'don't worry, we're going to keep the hens safe. You farmers go back to sleep.'
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) July 9, 2017
Even Trump’s own party was incredulous at the idea of partnering with Russia. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was vocally opposed to working with Russia, and Trump’s former opponent in the Republican primaries, Senator Marco Rubio, tweeted his disapproval for the president’s announcement.
“Partnering with Putin on a ‘Cyber Security Unit’ is akin to partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit'”
Russia, for its part, has been in the news lately for other suspected cyber attacks, including attacks on American nuclear power plants. It is inconclusive as to who carried out the cyber attacks, but Bloomberg News reported that a source inside the U.S. government said that Russia is the prime suspect. Russia notoriously carried out attacks in 2015 that shut down Ukraine’s power grid and is well known for the strategic use of cyber warfare.
No real specifics were given after the announcement of the joint “cyber security unit.” However, the president remained on Twitter to voice is displeasure, one again, with what he sees as “fake news,” a term which rose to prominence as a reference to Russian propaganda spread to influence the previous U.S. election.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP images]