CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had a tough exchange with White House spokesman Michael Anton tonight about whether President Trump has ever been tough on Russia for their efforts to meddle in American politics.
Blitzer noted that in Trump’s speech today, the president declined to mention several parts of his national security strategy which recognized Russia’s efforts to subvert and interfere with foreign nations. The CNN host asked Anton why Trump failed to mention those points after how often the president has written off Russia intrigue as a “witch hunt.”
Anton pushed back by saying that Trump’s “witch hunt” remarks were directed towards the notion of collusion, and Trump has acknowledged Russia’s activities “many times,” even if the media doesn’t believe his affirmation.
“I think it’s time CNN and everyone else took ‘yes’ for an answer and move on,” Anton said.
Blitzer went on to grill Anton by noting how Trump clearly begrudges any recognition of Russia’s actions, and that Trump often blames other countries or political forces for Russia’s alleged misdeeds. The CNN host eventually flat-out asked Anton flat out whether Trump acknowledges Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as their status as a “revisionist power” that stands opposed to U.S. interests.
“The president says that America will build a partnership with Russia where possible, but also stand up for the country when necessary” Blitzer asked. “When has [Trump] directly stood up to President Putin either in a phone conversation or during a one-on-one meeting?
As the exchange continued, Blitzer said he was glad that Anton could confirm that Trump believes that Russia meddled with the election last year. Anton pushed back by insisting Trump has said as much “at least four times” on the record, though Blitzer reminded him of how reluctant Trump is to acknowledge that detail.
From there, Blitzer asked if the White House has any strategy in place to prevent further interference from foreign entities.
Watch above, via CNN.
[Image via screengrab]
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