Trump still unconvinced Russia meddled in 2016 election

President Donald Trump still isn't buying that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.Even as his intelligence...

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 9:24 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 9:24 AM

President Donald Trump still isn't buying that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Even as his intelligence chiefs unanimously told a Senate panel Tuesday that Russia meddled in 2016 and is planning to do so again in 2018, three sources familiar with the President's thinking say he remains unconvinced that Russia interfered in the presidential election.

While this issue is separate from the question of whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian officials, to Trump the issues are interwoven, the sources say. He views the notion that Russia meddled in the election as an argument that he had help to win, and that he didn't win the election on his own.

Trump's view contradicts his intelligence chiefs, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and FBI Director Chris Wray, who all testified -- again -- on Tuesday that they supported the intelligence community's January 2017 assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

"There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations," Coats said at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats.

Trump has been skeptical about the intelligence assessment that Russia meddled ever since he was first briefed on the issue during the presidential transition. But that skepticism has endured even after Trump hand-selected his own intel chiefs and they reiterated the conclusions of their predecessors.

Trump has only begrudgingly acknowledged that Russia may have interfered in the election. In a press conference as president-elect, Trump said, "As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people." At a June 2017 press conference in Poland, he again said Russia meddled in the election, but added that "other people and other countries" likely did as well.

More often, Trump has cast doubt on accusations of Russian meddling. He has questioned whether the Russians were responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee, and he has called the entire "Russia story" a hoax perpetuated by angry Democrats. He even convinced Pompeo to personally meet with a conspiracy theorist who denies that Russia hacked the DNC.

Trump caused a stir during his trip to Asia when he suggested that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials that his government meddled in the election. Trump and Putin met several times on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam. "Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that,'" Trump said. "And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it."

But members of Trump's cabinet have bucked Trump and sided with the intelligence community including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who said in October: "When a country can come interfere in another country's elections, that is warfare."

Tuesday's hearing was the latest opportunity for Democrats to pounce on the conflicting messages coming from the intelligence chiefs and their commander in chief. Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, urged the intelligence officials to convince Trump that the issue of collusion was separate from election meddling.

"I understand the President's sensitivity about whether his campaign was in connections with the Russians, and that's a separate question. But there is no question -- we've got before us the entire intelligence community, that the Russians interfered in the election in 2016 -- they're continuing to do it, and they're a real imminent threat to our elections in a matter of eight or nine months," King said.

"My problem is I talk to people in Maine who say the whole thing is a witch hunt and a hoax because 'the President told me'," he added.

Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, asked whether the steps the intelligence community was taking to counteract Russia's election interference efforts had been directed by Trump.

"Not specifically directed by the President," Wray said.

Terre Haute
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Robinson
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 65°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Rockville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 65°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 65°
Brazil
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Marshall
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Nice Weather Continues
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1387904

Reported Deaths: 25505
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook55597610438
DuPage923281316
Will769071031
Lake683241011
Kane59394804
Winnebago34070501
Madison30911526
McHenry29179294
St. Clair28287519
Peoria23443340
Champaign21094154
Sangamon19075237
McLean18544187
Tazewell17217304
Rock Island15238328
Kankakee14536216
Kendall1327198
LaSalle12768249
Macon10992211
DeKalb10101121
Vermilion10000141
Adams8667126
Williamson7573134
Whiteside7197174
Boone682977
Ogle620683
Grundy598778
Clinton578791
Coles5765100
Knox5640153
Jackson510065
Henry507470
Livingston489691
Woodford482382
Stephenson481585
Macoupin478288
Effingham476672
Franklin454678
Marion4511117
Jefferson4418122
Monroe438094
Lee419453
Randolph416387
Fulton405259
Logan396263
Morgan393282
Christian383875
Montgomery379274
Bureau378283
Fayette322155
Perry319960
Iroquois313267
McDonough290451
Jersey271652
Douglas260536
Saline260157
Lawrence241127
Shelby232437
Union227040
Crawford214425
Bond208724
Cass203127
Ford188648
Warren183748
Clark183633
Jo Daviess182724
Pike181753
Wayne180853
Hancock180231
Carroll178037
Richland176940
Edgar176240
White170226
Washington164825
Moultrie162928
De Witt157329
Mason154145
Piatt152314
Clay149543
Mercer149334
Johnson147216
Greene145334
Massac135840
Wabash135612
Cumberland130019
Menard124812
Jasper116118
Marshall108219
Hamilton84215
Schuyler7797
Brown7286
Pulaski7007
Stark64824
Edwards57712
Henderson53114
Calhoun5292
Scott4881
Putnam4863
Alexander47311
Gallatin4684
Hardin39112
Pope3274
Out of IL20
Unassigned02422

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 749835

Reported Deaths: 13752
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1031281779
Lake555181006
Allen41642691
St. Joseph36959564
Hamilton36537416
Elkhart29373459
Tippecanoe22871224
Vanderburgh22544400
Porter19339325
Johnson18412388
Hendricks17594317
Clark13202193
Madison13128344
Vigo12606253
LaPorte12400221
Monroe12175175
Delaware10949198
Howard10270225
Kosciusko9615119
Hancock8556145
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7775180
Grant7230179
Wayne7158201
Boone6922103
Morgan6742141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6208116
Cass5997109
Henry5894108
Dearborn589078
Noble580287
Jackson508774
Shelby500897
Lawrence4735121
Gibson444293
Harrison441073
Clinton440455
DeKalb438985
Montgomery434890
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399359
Miami392968
Jasper387054
Knox375790
Putnam372160
Wabash360683
Ripley346570
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White330853
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286685
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange273072
Scott269955
Clay266048
Washington245034
Randolph244683
Jennings235249
Spencer234231
Starke227858
Fountain219147
Sullivan214043
Owen211258
Fulton202142
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188155
Perry187037
Rush175726
Vermillion174044
Franklin170235
Tipton166046
Parke149016
Pike138134
Blackford136132
Pulaski120347
Newton113036
Brown104043
Crawford102316
Benton101114
Martin91615
Warren83615
Switzerland8108
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420