Trump’s Own Chief of Staff Admits ‘Yes’ Russia Interfered to Benefit Trump, Blames Obama
White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reluctantly answered “yes” when asked if the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election to benefit President Donald Trump, but quickly tried to shift blame for the interference onto former President Barack Obama.
On Sunday’s edition of NBC News’ Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd repeatedly asked Mulvaney if he and Trump accept the fact that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was intended to benefit Trump, and while Mulvaney tried to evade the question, he finally had to admit the truth.
“I want to move to the president’s response to Robert Mueller,” Todd said. “He seems to indicate that the whole Russia interference is a hoax. Does the president accept the fact that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, in order to help him win?”
“I think the bottom line, and this got lost again this week, is that it didn’t make any difference,” Mulvaney claimed. “You ask a lot of people, show me who you voted for, and I’ll tell you how you feel about the Russia investigation.”
“That’s not the question though, that is not the question,” Todd said. “You guys always try to change it to, ‘But no votes were changed,’ That’s not the point.”
“Fine,” Mulvaney said.
“That’s not the point,” Todd said again, and asked “Does he accept the fact that Russia interfered to benefit him, which is what Robert Mueller found? What happened?”
“The answer to the short question is, yes,” Mulvaney said, confirming an admission that Trump briefly made in a tweet this week.
But then he tried to shift the blame, saying “Russia did attempt to interfere in our election. There’s no question. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that it was the previous administration that let that happen.”
Mulvaney then claimed the administration is working against foreign interference in 2020, and again tried to blame Obama, concluding by saying “I just wish people, you know, tried to lay some of the blame where it belongs, on the previous administration, for letting it happen in the first place.”
Then-President Obama did take some actions against Russia, but when he and the intelligence community suggested a bipartisan statement warning of and condemning the interference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened to attack Obama if he issued such a statement.
Watch the clip above, via NBC News.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]