Priebus: No, Trump Didn't Believe Putin
President thinks Russia 'probably' meddled, but wants to move on
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2017 3:35 PM CDT
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – President Trump's one-on-one with Vladimir Putin dominated the Sunday talk shows, with Trump's chief of staff providing a blunt assessment of his boss' view on Russian meddling in the election. "The president absolutely did not believe the denial of President Putin," Reince Priebus said on Fox News Sunday. Priebus said Trump pressed Putin immediately on the issue in their meeting, and the chief of staff rejected Russian ambassador Sergey Lavrov's assertion that Trump had believed Putin. "So, yes, he believes that Russia probably committed all of these acts that we've been told of," said Priebus, per Fox News, but he said Trump also believes that other nations, including China and North Korea, also meddle. (Trump tweeted Sunday that it's time to "move forward" with the US-Russian relationship.) Other highlights:

  • Brilliant: Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin's assessment of the meeting with Putin is that Trump "handled it brilliantly," reports ABC News. Trump, he said, made clear that the US is unhappy with the election meddling but also made "substantive" progress on issues including Syria, North Korea, and the creation of a joint cybersecurity unit.
  • Not brilliant: "To forgive and forget when it comes to Putin, regarding cyberattacks, is to empower Putin," said Sen. Lindsey Graham on NBC's Meet the Press, per the Hill. “I am disappointed." He also ridiculed the idea of partnering with Russia on cybersecurity. "It's not the dumbest idea I've ever heard, but it's pretty close."
  • Counter-view: UN ambassador Nikki Haley agrees the US cannot trust Russia, but she said the cybersecurity partnership still makes sense. "You keep those that you don't trust closer, so that you can always keep an eye on them and keep them in check," she said on State of the Union on CNN.
  • Health care: Senators return to DC on Monday with the GOP's ObamaCare alternative front and center. The problem is that Mitch McConnell doesn't appear to have made much progress getting to 50 votes. "It's probably going to be dead," said John McCain on CBS' Face the Nation, per USA Today.

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