White House in disarray over ‘meddling’


US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

The White House has again tied itself in knots over Donald Trump’s opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, denying Mr Trump meant to say Moscow was no longer targeting the US for political interference.

Mr Trump adopted his usual defiant posture yesterday over the furore, calling his critics deranged. Asked before a cabinet meeting at the White House whether Russia was still targeting the US, Mr Trump shook his head and said: “No.”

But at a later news briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president was saying “no” to answering questions, not to the question itself. Ms Sanders said Mr Trump believed the threat from Russia to undermine November’s US mid-term elections still existed and Moscow would still target American elections.

“The president has made clear to Vladimir Putin that he should stay out of US elections,” Ms Sanders said. “The president and his administration are working very hard to make sure that Russia is unable to meddle in our elections as they have done in the past.”

US intelligence officials have said Russia’s efforts to undermine elections are continuing and are targeting the November 6 congressional elections.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump claimed he “misspoke” when he said at the summit that Russia was not meddling in the US elections.

Irish Independent

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