Jul 18, 2018

Sanders: Trump believes Russia still a threat

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

At Wednesday's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that President Trump responded "no" to taking questions in a press conference earlier that day — not to the question of whether he believes Russia is still targeting U.S. elections.

Why it matters: When asked whether Trump does believe that Russia is an ongoing threat to the U.S.'s election security, Sanders said, "[h]e does believe they would target U.S. elections again" adding, "certainly, we believe that the threat still exists." When pressed on why Trump has seemingly reversed his position on this issue twice this week, Sanders said that she was "interpreting" the president not "reversing" his position.

Other takeaways:

  • Sanders acknowledged that Putin talked to Trump about being able to question former U.S. ambassador Michale McFaul and foreign investor Bill Browder, but said that no commitment had been made. "The President will work with his team and we’ll let you know if there’s an announcement on that front.”
  • She did not directly answer the question of whether Trump believes Russia's attempts to interfere in U.S. elections are attacks on U.S. democracy.
  • "Trump has been extremely tough on Russia and to say anything else is simply not true," she argued.
  • "The president has made clear to Vladimir Putin that he should stay out of U.S. elections."
  • On Trump's comments about "others" who could have meddled in the 2016 elections: "We are aware of others that have made attempts, but I can’t get into any of that here at this point."
  • As to whether there was a recorder in the Putin-Trump meeting: "I'm not aware of one."

Go deeper

The latest: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: New York Attorney General Letitia James responded to Trump's comments by tweeting that he "is not a dictator & he doesn’t have the right to unilaterally deploy U.S. military across American states. We will guard the right to peaceful protest & will not hesitate to go to court to protect our constitutional rights during this time & well into the future."

2 hours ago - World

The world watches America burn

Newspaper front pages via the Newseum

The world is watching the grief and anger, violence and pain in America's streets.

The big picture: The U.S. accounts for nearly one-third of the world's deaths from COVID-19. The killing of a black man, George Floyd, by police has sparked days of protest and nights of chaos in America's major cities.

Trump walks to historic St. John's Church outside White House as protests rage

President Trump walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just steps away from the White House across Lafayette Park, on Monday night as protests linked to the murder of George Floyd raged across the capital and cities around the country.

What we're seeing: Military police and park rangers used physical force and tear gas on peaceful protestors to clear the area so that Trump could "pay respects" to the church that was damaged by a fire on Sunday.