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• Previously: Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault Holding impromptu interventions in Trump’s 26th-floor corner office at Trump Tower, advisers — including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and designated chief of staff, Reince Priebus — prodded the president-elect to accept the findings that the nation’s spy chiefs had personally presented to him on Jan. They sought to convince Trump that he could affirm the validity of the intelligence without diminishing his electoral win, according to three officials involved in the sessions.More important, they said that doing so was the only way to put the matter behind him politically and free him to pursue his goal of closer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.In the final days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, members of his inner circle pleaded with him to acknowledge publicly what U. intelligence agencies had already concluded — that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was real.This report on how President Trump has responded to intelligence findings that Russia intervened in the 2016 election follows an earlier examination of the Obama administration’s actions as the Kremlin’s campaign unfolded.Months later, when Congress moved to impose additional penalties on Moscow, Trump opposed the measures fiercely.Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it, administration officials said.
Additional penalties have been mandated by Congress. officials said, the Kremlin believes it got a staggering return on an operation that by some estimates cost less than 0,000 to execute and was organized around two main objectives — destabilizing U. democracy and preventing Hillary Clinton, who is despised by Putin, from reaching the White House. “It has driven the American political system into a crisis that will last years.” U. officials declined to discuss whether the stream of recent intelligence on Russia has been shared with Trump.He railed that the intelligence couldn’t be trusted and scoffed at the suggestion that his candidacy had been propelled by forces other than his own strategy, message and charisma.The Washington Post examines how, nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject evidence that Russia supported his run for the White House as part of an unprecedented assault on a pillar of American democracy.11, 2001, attacks, an event that exposed a previously unimagined vulnerability and required a unified American response.“What the president has to say is, ‘We know the Russians did it, they know they did it, I know they did it, and we will not rest until we learn everything there is to know about how and do everything possible to prevent it from happening again,’ ” Hayden said in an interview. officials said that a stream of intelligence from sources inside the Russian government indicates that Putin and his lieutenants regard the 2016 “active measures” campaign — as the Russians describe such covert propaganda operations — as a resounding, if incomplete, success.Trump administration officials defended the approach with Russia, insisting that their policies and actions have been tougher than those pursued by Obama but without unnecessarily combative language or posture. that the idea that he’s been put into office by Vladimir Putin is pretty insulting,” said a second senior administration official.“Our approach is that we don’t irritate Russia, we deter Russia,” a senior administration official said. But his views are “not a constraint” on the government’s ability to respond to future election threats, the official said.(Dalton Bennett, Thomas Le Gro, John Parks, Jesse Mesner-Hage/The Washington Post) Told that members of his incoming Cabinet had already publicly backed the intelligence report on Russia, Trump shot back, “So what?” Admitting that the Kremlin had hacked Democratic Party emails, he said, was a “trap.” As Trump addressed journalists on Jan.In other cases, Trump’s main briefer — a veteran CIA analyst — adjusts the order of his presentation and text, aiming to soften the impact. Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that the briefing is “written by senior-level, career intelligence officers” and that the intelligence community “always provides objective intelligence — including on Russia — to the president and his staff.” Trump’s aversion to the intelligence, and the dilemma that poses for top spies, has created a confusing dissonance on issues related to Russia.“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” said a second former senior U. The CIA continues to stand by its conclusions about the election, for example, even as the agency’s director, Mike Pompeo, frequently makes comments that seem to diminish or distort those findings. Comey traveled separately on an FBI Gulfstream aircraft, planning to extend his stay for meetings with bureau officials. The four men had convened a virtual meeting the previous evening, speaking by secure videoconference to plan their presentation to the incoming president of a classified report on Russia’s election interference and its pro-Trump objective.