Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he believed Donald Trump was convinced after he told him the Russians were not involved in the 2016 election hack.
Like taking candy from a baby.
The news that Trump would believe Putin instead of the U.S. intelligence community would be stunning – but this is Donald Trump, after all.
It’s the same guy who shot off this tweet ahead of his face-to-face meeting with Putin, shifting the blame and attention toward the Democrats instead of Russia:
Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2017
That tweet came after Trump, during his speech in Poland, once again spewed the nonsense that it could’ve been countries other than Russia who meddled in last year’s presidential election between him and Hillary Clinton.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 6, 2017
“I think it could have been other people and other countries,” Trump said at the time. “It could have been a lot of people that interfered.”
The claim that Putin was able to successfully convince Trump that Russia was not involved in last year’s cyber attack also comes after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed that the president repeatedly pushed Putin on his country’s meddling.
Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded to Tillerson’s claim by essentially calling it nonsense and saying that last year’s election only came up briefly during the two-hour meeting.
While it’s hard to know which country’s account of the closed-door meeting is accurate and whether Trump is truly convinced that Russia was not involved, we can look to the president’s public statements during his presidency and campaign to have an idea of what went on between the two world leaders.
After spending his entire presidency and much of the campaign blaming the Democrats, making excuses for Russia, and casting doubt over the U.S. intelligence community, it’s not so hard to believe that Trump spent two hours fawning over Putin and telling the Russian president that he takes him at his word.
Trump can pretend to be a strongman all he wants, but in his first real opportunity to put America first and show strong leadership, he backed down bigly.