Less than a full day after United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised that Donald Trump would confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, Trump posted a message to his Twitter account again appearing to take the Russians at their word that they did not “meddle” in the U.S. election.
U.S intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia sabotaged the 2016 election in an attempt to help Trump win the White House, and last month the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee finished its review of the intelligence agency findings and determined them to be “accurate and on point,” The Washington Post reported.
Earlier this year, top intelligence officials, including Pompeo who was then CIA director, warned Congress that Russia was already preparing to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections as well, as Time.com reported.
On Thursday, the White House announced what had long been expected, that Trump would hold a one-on-one “summit” meeting with Putin. The date is set for July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, as the Inquisitr noted. On Wednesday, Pompeo promised reporters that, at the summit meeting, Trump would face down Putin over the meddling issue.
“I’m confident that when the president meets with Vladimir Putin he will make clear that meddling in our elections is completely unacceptable,” Pompeo told a Senate committee in sworn testimony, Politico reported.
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton — in Moscow, Russia, ahead of the upcoming summit — also said that Trump would raise the election meddling problem with Putin, according to a CNN report.
But in his Thursday tweet, Trump appeared to directly undercut Pompeo and Bolton, once again appearing to accept Russian denials of election meddling at face value — while slamming American investigators probing links between his campaign and Russia as “corrupt.”
“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” Trump declared in the Twitter post. “Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!”
The statement appearing to place trust in Russia while attempting to discredit American law enforcement officials has been an often-stated theme for Trump. In a July 2017 interview, Trump said that during a meeting with Putin at a G20 summit in Germany, he had asked Putin about the meddling, Reuters reported.
“I said, ‘Did you do it?’ And he said, ‘No, I did not. Absolutely not.’ I then asked him a second time in a totally different way. He said absolutely not,” Trump claimed. He then went on to suggest that if Russia had indeed meddled, Putin was too smart to have had his handiwork detected.
“Somebody did say if he did do it, you wouldn’t have found out about it. Which is a very interesting point,” Trump said in the same 2017 interview.
Trump has frequently questioned the intelligence community’s conclusion of Russian interference in the 2016 election — though he has also occasionally claimed that he accepts the findings. In a Twitter message in February of this year, Trump claimed that he “never said” that Russia did not interfere in the election.
But as the fact-checking organization FactCheck.org reported after Trump posted that February tweet, “Trump denied or doubted Russia’s involvement in the hacking from the first day that it became public in June 2016.”
In fact, after Trump met with Putin again in November of last year at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, Trump appeared to defend Putin, saying that the Russian leader felt “insulted” by the U.S. charges of election meddling.
“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,'” Trump said after the meeting, according to a White House transcript. “And I believe — I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he’s very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth.”