Political News

The Latest: Trump backs off cybersecurity unit with Russia

Posted July 10

President Donald Trump smiles as he walks on the South Lawn upon arrival the White House in Washington, Saturday, July 8, 2017, from the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

— The Latest on President Donald Trump and Russia (all times local):

10 p.m.

President Donald Trump appears to be backing away from the idea of working with Russia to create a "cyber security unit" to guard against election hacking.

Trump tweeted Sunday morning about discussing such a unit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yet it's Russia that U.S. intelligence officials blame for meddling in last year's election.

Widespread ridicule greeted Trump's tweet. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina calls it "pretty close" to the dumbest idea he's ever heard. A Democratic congressman, Adam Schiff of California, says expecting Russia to be a credible partner in any cybersecurity initiative "would be dangerously naive."

By Sunday evening, Trump was tweeting a different tune. He wrote that just because he and Putin discussed the idea "doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't."

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7:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says "it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia" after his lengthy meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Germany. But he is still avoiding the question of whether he accepts Putin's denial that Russia was responsible for meddling in the 2016 election.

Speaking in a series of tweets the morning after returning from a world leaders' summit in Germany, Trump said he "strongly pressed" Putin twice over Russian meddling during their meeting Friday.

Trump said that Putin "vehemently denied" the conclusions of American intelligence agencies that Russian hackers and propagandists tried to sway the election in Trump's favor. But Trump would not say whether he believed Putin, tweeting only that he's "already given my opinion."

9 a.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he and President Donald Trump didn't expect anything other than a denial from Vladimir Putin that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election when they all met in Germany.

Speaking Sunday in Ukraine, Tillerson said Trump's conversation with Putin on election meddling went "about the way we expected" and that the most important thing is to make sure it never happens again.

He was asked, but did not answer directly, if Trump had accepted Putin's denial as Russian officials have claimed. Tillerson was the only other American official in the room when Trump and Putin met on Friday.

But, Tillerson said he didn't believe the U.S. and Russia would ever come to a common understanding of what happened.

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8 a.m.

President Donald Trump is tweeting that "it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!" after his meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Trump says after returning from a world leaders' summit in Germany that he "strongly pressed" Putin twice over Russian meddling in the 2016 election during their lengthy meeting. He says Putin "vehemently denied" the conclusions of American intelligence agencies.

Trump is not saying, though, whether he believes Putin, tweeting that he's "already given my opinion."

Russia's foreign minister had told reporters in Germany that Trump took Putin at his word over meddling. U.S. officials have not pushed back on that account.

Trump has said previously he believes Russia likely was involved in election hacking, but that other countries were as well.

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