According to a New York Times report, as early as January 6, 2017 — two weeks before his inauguration — Donald Trump was shown hard evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the Russian cyber-warfare campaign against the 2016 U.S. election. Less than 24 hours after the report’s release, Trump extended an invitation to Putin to visit the White House.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was one of several top intelligence officials who briefed Trump during the January, 2017, meeting, as reported by the Inquisitr, confirmed the New York Times’ report on Thursday. According to a CNN report, Clapper stated that Trump was shown highly classified evidence, including intercepted text messages and emails, which showed that not only was the Russian government behind the attack, but that Putin himself gave the green light. Clapper also stated that Trump reacted with “some skepticism.”
A New York Times report indicates that the invitation to Putin coincides with reports that Trump’s own closest aides, as well as top U.S. intelligence officials, say they have not yet been informed about what Trump and Putin discussed in a two-hour private meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.
In an interview Thursday at a security conference in Aspen, Colorado, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats — himself a Trump appointee — said that even he had no idea what Trump and Putin discussed in their one-on-one chat, according to CNN.
“I don’t know what happened in that meeting. I think as time goes by and the President has already mentioned some of the things that happened in that meeting, I think we will learn more,” Coats said in the interview. “If he had asked me how that should be conducted I would have suggested a different way, but that’s not my role, that’s not my job. So it is what it is.”
Coats was also notified, on-stage by interviewer Andrea Mitchell, that Trump had invited Putin to visit the White House, to which Coats reacted with disbelief, as seen in the video below from ABC News.
In the private meeting between Trump and Putin, the only other people present were interpreters for each man. On Thursday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee attempted to pass a motion to subpoena Trump’s interpreter, Marina Gross, to testify before the committee about what Trump and Putin discussed. According to California Representative Adam Schiff, the top-ranking Democrat on the committee, the Republican majority voted the motion down.
“The American people need to know what secret deals Trump made with Putin during his one-on-one meeting,” Schiff said on his Twitter account.