In a complete reversal after publicly reaffirming his confidence in U.S. intelligence agencies, President Donald Trump has rejected their findings once again.
Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he did not believe Russia was continuing to target the U.S., contradicting Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who warned last week that Russia is an active threat to national security.
The president was asked if he believes Russia is still targetting the US. He said “no.”
He added: “We’re doing very well, probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russia. There’s been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia,” Trump said.
Hours later, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed Trump was saying “no” to taking more questions ― not responding to the reporter’s question about Russia. But video shows that Trump continued to take questions after appearing to answer the inquiry about Russia.
Is Russia still targeting the US? Trump says, "No." pic.twitter.com/L5ZY9DE4r1
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) July 18, 2018
Several reporters who were present, including the Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng, tweeted that Trump had “clearly” responded to the Russia question.
I was standing right there and the reporters question was clear despite minimal “crosstalk.” It was clear to me and other folks in the room I’ve spoken to that he was addressing her Q, I heard him say “no” very clearly, then he proceeded to further address the question,” Suebsaeng tweeted.
Watch Sarah Sanders’ trying a different spin on Trump’s answer.