In the days leading up to his planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, aides spent hours preparing President Donald Trump to take a tough stance on Putin, advice that was largely ignored by the President, The Washington Post reported.
According to one person familiar with the planning who spoke to the Post, Trump’s behavior during the press conference with Putin was “very much counter to the plan.” Another person familiar with the discussions said ahead of the meeting the President was bombarded with messages about Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its election interference and was surrounded by advisers who told him to posture strong against Putin.
Prominent members of Trump’s national security team, like National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, even tried to push Trump to take a hard stance against Putin or at the very least, look at Putin in a less rosy light.
But Trump “made a game-time decision” to blame both the U.S. and Russia for disintegrated relations and to publicly support Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to the Post. One official who spoke with the newspaper denied that Trump’s remarks in Finland were autonomous.
Read the Post’s full report here.