After President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. and Russia were talking about forming an “impenetrable” cyber security unit, only to reverse himself 12 hours later, the White House said Monday Russia is a “cyber threat,” but the U.S. should still work with the country.
“We recognize that Russia is a cyber threat,” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an off-camera briefing. “But we also recognize the need to have conversations with our adversaries, and when our adversaries see strength like they did with the President in the meeting, they can look for other ways to work on shared interests, and look for positive places where they can move the ball forward, particularly on things like the cease-fire and that became a greater focus, and something the President chose to stay focused on is that front.”
When asked if the plan to partner with Russia on combating election hacking was dead, Sanders said she didn’t think there was ever actually a plan in place.
“Look, I would say that discussions may still take place, but that’s as far as it is right now. I‘m not sure that there were specific details discussed,” she said. “I think it was simply just a discussion on cyber security threats and potential options not necessarily a formal kind of structure in place.”
The comments came after the President seemingly flip-flopped on his plans to work with Russia to combat cyber security on Sunday following widespread criticism about the plan.
Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't-but a ceasefire can,& did!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017