In Private, Trump Tries To Downplay Russian Election Interference To Own Aides

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes the Baylor women’s NCAA championship basketball team in the Oval Office at the White House April 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. Although the NCAA champio... WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes the Baylor women’s NCAA championship basketball team in the Oval Office at the White House April 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. Although the NCAA champion University of Virginia men's basketball team is skipping a visit to the White House, the Baylor players visited the Oval Office three weeks after winning its third national title with an 82-81 victory over Notre Dame. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 30, 2019 9:39 a.m.
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In White House meetings in recent months, President Trump has attempted to downplay the significance of Russian election interference to his own aides, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

In a recent meeting, Trump harped on the fact that Russian meddling didn’t change individual votes — which has not been suggested by his advisers — and repeatedly told aides that his 2016 campaign wasn’t “hacked.” In the summer of 2018, aides asked Trump if they could begin talking about Russian meddling ahead of the midterms in order to heighten awareness of the issue. Trump agreed, but with the caveat that aides make it clear that Russian interference did not change the outcome of the election.

It’s so well known that Trump doesn’t want to talk about Russian meddling that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen not to bring up the issue to Trump, as the New York Times reported last week. In two separate meetings around the midterms, when Nielsen tried to raise the issue, Trump diverted the conversation to immigration issues.

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