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In October, Pompeo declared the intelligence community had concluded that Russia’s meddling “did not affect the outcome of the election.” In fact, spy agencies intentionally steered clear of addressing that question. 6, two weeks before Trump was sworn in as president, the nation’s top intelligence officials boarded an aircraft at Joint Base Andrews on the outskirts of Washington to travel to New York for one of the most delicate briefings they would deliver in their decades-long careers. Clapper Jr., CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael S. During the campaign, Trump had alternately dismissed the idea of Russian involvement — saying a hack of the Democratic National Committee was just as likely carried out by “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” — and prodded the Kremlin to double down on its operation and unearth additional Clinton emails.
The officials had already briefed Obama and members of Congress.
(Dalton Bennett, Thomas Le Gro, John Parks, Jesse Mesner-Hage/The Washington Post) Told that members of his incoming Cabinet had already publicly backed the intelligence report on Russia, Trump shot back, “So what?
Although the issue has been discussed at lower levels at the National Security Council, one former high-ranking Trump administration official said there is an unspoken understanding within the NSC that to raise the matter is to acknowledge its validity, which the president would see as an affront.
Trump’s stance on the election is part of a broader entanglement with Moscow that has defined the first year of his presidency.
Trump administration officials defended the approach with Russia, insisting that their policies and actions have been tougher than those pursued by Obama but without unnecessarily combative language or posture. that the idea that he’s been put into office by Vladimir Putin is pretty insulting,” said a second senior administration official.
“Our approach is that we don’t irritate Russia, we deter Russia,” a senior administration official said. But his views are “not a constraint” on the government’s ability to respond to future election threats, the official said.
This account of the Trump administration’s reaction to Russia’s interference and policies toward Moscow is based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U. officials, many of whom had senior roles in the Trump campaign and transition team or have been in high-level positions at the White House or at national security agencies.