As stories of the lengths President Donald Trump has gone to conceal records of his private discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin continue to unsettle the American public, New York Times reporter David Sanger told CNN why Trump was hesitant to side with U.S. intelligence in its belief that Putin acted to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The reason? Putin told him.
After his December 2017 meeting with Putin in Germany, Trump called Sanger. According to Sanger, Trump defended Putin against the findings of his own intelligence officials, echoing sentiments expressed to him by Putin: that Russia couldn’t have done it, because Russian officials wouldn’t have gotten caught. Trump also expressed doubt of the intelligence agencies’ findings because they came from former FBI director James Comey (whom the President called a “bad cop” as recently as this morning) and former CIA director John Brennan. After their dismissals, both went on to be critical of the President.
Sanger elaborated on Trump’s words:
“He said he was really impressed by that argument…So he essentially sided with a Putin explanation that would cast into doubt whether or not the Russians actually did this — something he had been doing during the campaign.”
Watch Sanger below:
Given Trump’s history of defending Putin, many thought it was typical that the President would take up for the Kremlin rather than his own intelligence officials.
Trump buys that Russia is more "professional" even though the NSA/CIA/FBI/ETC have pinpointed the who/what/where/when/how of their break-ins. Trump doesn't believe they are better, he just can't support Putin without SOME excuse … other than "the tapes make me his b***h".
— Bob Sheepleherder (@BSheepleherder) January 16, 2019
Sure as long as you don’t take into consideration the fact that Mueller knows exactly which Russians did the hacking and which Russian buildings they were in in Russia. Anything sounds logical when you’re trying to make a reason for your treason!
— Ellen (@ellenjames301) January 16, 2019
Trump is eventually going to do a press conference with a spiked collar and leash around his neck.
— Billy Dee Marcus (@billydeemarcus) January 16, 2019
And of course because they are some of the best in the world the Anericans that are paid to catch them can’t possibly catch them??? Yeah Individual-1 has been turned by Vlad
— Zedric Brooks (@zedbro68) January 16, 2019
We can say Vladimir Putin is smarter than @realDonaldTrump for sure.
— Resist (@MirandinaRajada) January 17, 2019
As Sanger pointed out, Trump would later side with Putin again, this time in public.