Trump Pivots from Putin/Hacking: ‘Time to Move Forward in Working Constructively With Russia!’

President Donald Trump went on an epic tweetstorm this morning and provided commentary about discussions he had with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 Summit. Though he provided a modicum of insight into the, his tweets are certain to raise more questions than provide any answers for a still-looming controversy.

Some background: the two leaders met for two-plus hours on Friday afternoon, from which dueling accounts arose regarding claims that President Trump accepted Putin’s strong denial of Russian interference in the 2016 US general election. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov first claimed that Trump accepted Putin’s denials, and Putin said that the US President “seemed satisfied.”

But US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to push back in what became a quick game of diplomatic messaging, saying that President Trump “pressed” Putin on the issue. So, what did the President think of the meeting, specifically regarding the Russian interferences? Well read his tweet below and see for yourself.

Trump went on to explain other highlights of the meeting:

Trump then circled back to “Cyber Security” suggesting that he and Putin talked about working together so that future “election hacking” will be more difficult:

Then got a shot in on his political foes DNC:

And what Trump tweet storm wouldn’t be complete without a hit job on the “Fake News”?

And just when you thought the Tweet storm was over, Trump then circled back to “sanctions”:

It is not clear how President Trump, or anyone, can square Russian “sanctions” with “working constructively with Russia!” as they appear to be oppositional (and confusing) diplomatic tactics. And without  following up, it’s difficult to know exactly what “opinion” he’s referencing in his first tweet since the President has truly provided a number of different takes on the matter in just the last six months.

His most recent opinion on the election interference question, however, came during a pre-G20 Summit press conference with Polish President Duda, when Trump was asked by MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson asked of the President if he would “definitively say that Russia interfered in the 2016 election?”

Trump replied “I think it was Russia and I think it could have been a lot of people interfered. I said it very simply. I think it could very well have been Russia, but I think it well could have been other countries, and I won’t be specific, but I think a lot of people interfere.”

Since Trump has provided numerous explanations about the alleged “hacking of the election,” the reply above appears to just be his latest explanation. As such, “I’ve already given my opinion” seems to be something of a Rorschach test for people looking for meaning, an updated “it is what it is.”

Further, Trump’s critics will almost certainly view Trump’s apparent eagerness to pivot from Putin and Russia to the DNC and “Fake News” seems a rather obvious tactic of distraction. “Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” will seem a rather grotesque takeaway for those who reasonably feel like Russian’s interference in an election that benefited Trump.

Needless to say, the question of whether or not a Trump administration will pursue any actions or retribution for the alleged Russian-led interference of the US election will not go away. While Trump’s base will want issue to be resolved, the administration’s critics will almost certainly be aghast to think that this is the end of the story, and will do whatever they can to continue to seek further explanation as to why this White House seems rather dispassionate about a foreign entity interfering with the US democratic process.

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