President Trump was told by top U.S. intelligence officials before his inauguration that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in ordering cyberattacks designed to influence the 2016 election, according to a report Thursday.
Trump was shown highly classified intelligence, including emails and text messages from Russian military officers and information from a human source close to Putin, regarding the election interference operations, per the New York Times.
Trump seemed convinced, people in the briefing told the newspaper.
But since then Trump has equivocated on whether he agrees with assessments from his own intelligence community that Russia meddled in the election that won him the White House.
Trump provoked bipartisan outcry on Monday when he appeared to accept Putin’s denial of a Kremlin-linked effort to undermine the U.S. political process in 2016 rather than trust U.S. intelligence during a press conference held at the conclusion of the leaders’ talks in Helsinki.
Trump attempted to walk back his comments on Tuesday, saying he misspoke when he claimed he did not see why Russia would have interfered in 2016.
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