How Trump Invited Putin to Hack the Election. Every Last Utterance – Newsweek

This article first appeared on the Russia Matters site.

Allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential race first surfaced more than a year ago.

Since then, Donald Trump—as a candidate, as president-elect and finally as president—has weighed in on the topic.

In some ways, his position has evolved: from saying that the story of Russian interference was spread (and possibly invented) by sore-losing Democrats to conceding that Russia was behind the hacks of Democrats’ computer systems, and ultimately to confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin about the allegations.

But in other ways, Trump’s position has remained consistent: He maintains that even if Russia did interfere, that had no impact on the election’s outcome; he has repeatedly expressed doubt that Russia was behind the hacks (even after publicly saying it was); he has insisted that his campaign did not have any back-door dealings with Russia, calling claims to the contrary part of a political “witch hunt”; and he has defended those close to him as they have been accused of colluding with Moscow.

A declassified version of a report by the U.S. Intelligence Community said in January that “Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” whose “goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

2017-07-08T095048Z_2_LYNXMPED661EP_RTROPTP_4_G20-GERMANY-TRUMP-PUTIN Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet, perhaps for the first time, at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. Trump has repeatedly denied any Russian link to his campaign. Instead he suggests that suggestions were little more than Democrats whining about losing. He declared that it wasn’t Russia before he said it was, then it may not be. And when Trump asked Putin whether he hacked the 2016 election, Putin said he didn’t do it, which, Trump says, ends the matter.
Bundesregierung/Handout via REUTERS

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