President Donald Trump had told CBS News, before today’s historic surrender summit with Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, that he did not necessarily agree with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ warning about Russian cyberattacks on the presidential election.
CBS News did not, however run that part of Jeff Glor’s Saturday interview with Trump before today’s summit. Instead, it sent around word of Trump’s interview remarks after Sen. John McCain called Trump’s summit “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
CBS News is going to red-flag Trump’s remarks to Glor tonight on CBS Evening News.
Both DNI and White House staffers were gobsmacked by Trump’s comments at the Putin presser, according to many TV news reports in its wake.
In congressional testimony last week, Coats said the country’s digital infrastructure is “literally under attack” and warned that among state actors, Russia is the “worst offender.”
At a presser today after meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Trump said he saw no reason Putin would have wanted to interfere in the U.S. election and believed the former KGB bigwig’s denial.
In response, Coats shot back that U.S. intelligence has been “clear in our assessments of Russian meddling” and that the intelligence agencies “we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”
Glor asked Trump about Coats’ early warning on Saturday, when they sat down for the interview.
“Well, I — I don’t know if I agree with that,” Trump had responded. “I’d have to look. But I have a lot of respect for Dan. And that’s where he is, and that’s what he does. Again, we’re working on it very hard. We’re upgrading things at a very rapid pace.”
Then he blamed Obama: “President Obama, he was the president for eight years. I’m relatively new. And a lot of bad things happened during his administration. I’m here for a very short period of time.”