Russia summit raises concerns
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — President Donald Trump’s skepticism of the United States’ intelligence community is causing concern in the nation’s capital.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle panned Trump’s meet up with Vladimir Putin on Monday including Senator Joe Donnelly.
This weekend Sen. Donnelly called on the president to cancel this meeting.
Monday, he expressed his disappointment in the president partly for an exchange he had with reporters during a joint press conference following his talks with the Russian president.
The incumbent Democrat up for reelection in November called the summit a setback.
“When given the chance to stand up for our country and its security interests, President Trump instead emboldened President Putin and disregarded the consensus conclusion of the hard-working and patriotic Americans in the intelligence community, including director of national intelligence and fellow Hoosier Dan Coats,” Sen. Donnelly said in a statement to ABC 57 News.
A reporter asked President Trump if he believed Russia meddled in U.S. elections.
“My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia,” said the president. “I have President Putin—he said it’s not Russia. I’ll say this; I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Former Indiana U.S. Senator and now Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats spoke on that consensus at the Hudson institute on Friday, shortly after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.
“What’s serious about the Russians is their intent,” said Coats during his interview at the Hudson Institute. “They have capabilities but it’s their intent to undermine our basic values, undermine democracy, create wedges between our allies and we’ve seen this.”
The president seemed to respond to the criticism from Congress on Twitter.
“As I said today and many times before, “I have great confidence in my intelligence people.” However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along,” he said in a tweet on Monday.