On the eve of his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump held a press conference in Poland and declared that “nobody really knows” who meddled in the 2016 election.
Trump’s assessment breaks sharply from the U.S. intelligence community, which has pinned the blame squarely on Russia.
Trump was asked: “Will you once and for all, yes or no, say that Russia definitive interfered with the 2016 election.”
He refused to do so, saying that “it could have been other people in other countries.”
Strangely, as Trump cast doubt on whether Russia was involved, he also sharply criticized Obama for not taking action against Russia during the campaign.
Trump said that Obama refused to act because he thought Hillary Clinton would win — an implicit acknowledgement not only that Russia intervened but that Russia’s purpose was to help him win the election.
If it was truly unclear who was responsible, Obama’s alleged hesitancy to act would have been appropriate.
“He was told in early August by presumably the CIA that Russia was trying to get involved or meddling pretty strongly with the election,” Trump said of Obama. “He did nothing about it. The reason is he thought Hillary was going to win and if he thought I was going to win he would have done plenty about it.”
Trump dismissed the assessment from the U.S. intelligence community, saying he had done “heavy research” and found it was only the opinion of only “three or four” agencies. Those agencies were the FBI, CIA, and the NSA, along with the Director of National Intelligence. No intelligence agencies disagreed with the assessment — some simply weren’t involved.
SOURCE: Judd Legum