Thursday, May 30

Donald Trump backtracks on plan to work with Russians to build cyber security unit



Donald Trump has backtracked claims that he and Vladimir Putin would work on an impenetrable cyber security unit hours after the US President promoted the idea.

The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t, Trump said on Twitter.

He added that an agreement with Russia for a partial ceasefire in Syria can & did happen.

A total of 13 hours before, he had tweeted, Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded.

The suggestion was met with widespread criticism from both Democrats and some Republicans.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said: It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close.

Another Senate Republican, Marco Rubio of Florida, said on Twitter: Partnering with Putin on a Cyber Security Unit’ is akin to partnering with Assad on a Chemical Weapons Unit.

Former Defence Secretary Ash Carter said it was like the guy who robbed your house proposing a working group on burglary.

Russian operatives were the chief suspects behind a breach at power plants across the US, penetrating energy and nuclear company business networks, as well as hacking the Democratic National Committee servers last year. Mr Putin denied the allegations.

Mr Trump talked with Mr Putin for around two and a half hours at the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Which countries are allies and which are enemies?

The President reportedly took Mr Putin’s word that Russian operatives had not carried out what multiple US intelligence agencies described as a “campaign of influence” last year.

He vehemently denied it, wrote Mr Trump.

Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, insisted that Mr Trump had not believed Mr Putin, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked why the President would “broadcast” his opinion either way.

After the meeting, Mr Putin said Mr Trump seemed satisfied with the answers about meddling in the election.

Mr Putin was asked by journalists why the White House had not confirmed Mr Trump’s belief that Russia had not attempted to manipulate the election.

We’ll ask the White House to fix that, he joked.

Mr Trump also announced that “sanctions were not discussed” with the Russian leader, and “nothing will be done” until tensions in Ukraine and Syria were resolved.