Trump Rejects US Intelligence Agencies Day After Claiming He Backed Them

The White House later attempted to clarify Trump’s “no” response.

Update, 4:10 pm EST: In a press briefing shortly after Trump’s cabinet meeting, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that Trump was responding “no” to taking more questions from reporters—not to the question of whether Russia continues to target US elections, as US intelligence agencies have definitively concluded.

President Donald Trump told reporters that Russia is no longer threatening US elections, despite repeated assessments from intelligence officials, including most recently his own director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, that the Kremlin is doing exactly that.

“No,” was Trump’s simple response after being asked if Russia is targeting upcoming elections during a Wednesday cabinet meeting. The president’s curt answer flies in the face of Coats’ warning last week that signs of Russian meddling are “blinking red again.”

Trump continued on to claim that no president in US history has been more “tough” against Russia. “All you have to do is look at the numbers, look at what we’ve done. Look at sanctions, look at ambassadors not here. Look unfortunately at what happened in Syria recently,” he explained. He also insisted that Russian President Vladimir Putin is unhappy with various actions taken by the US.  

Trump’s response comes after several head-spinning public remarks this week concerning Russian interference, beginning when he sided with Russia over US intelligence and law enforcement agencies during a Helsinki press conference alongside Putin on Monday. One day later, amid blistering criticism over his performance in Finland, Trump read from a prepared statement that claimed he had simply misspoken . “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,'” Trump said. “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t’ or ‘why it wouldn’t be Russia.’”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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