Following two discussions with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in July 2017, President Donald Trump told a New York Times reporter that he was “impressed” by Putin’s claim that Russia could not have possibly hacked the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election.
The New York Times’ David Sanger told CNN Thursday morning that Trump told him about his interaction with Putin over the phone in July 2017.
“‘Vladimir Putin told me,’ [Trump] said, ‘that it couldn’t have been the Russians who hacked into the DNC because they’re so good at cyber that they wouldn’t have been caught.’ And he said he was really impressed by that argument,” Sanger told CNN.
President Trump called @SangerNYT after a meeting with Putin and argued Russians were falsely accused of election interference.
— New Day (@NewDay) January 17, 2019
Sanger then pointed out to Trump that U.S. intelligence reports found that Putin himself ordered the cyber attack. In response, Trump suggested he could not believe those reports because they came from “political hacks” James Comey, John Brennan, and James Clapper, according to Sanger.
“He essentially sided with a Putin explanation that would cast into doubt whether or not the Russians actually did this,” Sanger said on CNN.
Sanger’s description of the conversation followed a New York Times report earlier in the week that revealed Trump’s conversation with Sanger in 2017 in which the President said Putin made a “good point” while arguing the Russians could not have carried out the hack.