The bad news is that per news reports, one must conclude, Trump lost on the big question, Russian meddling.
According to Politico, the two had a “robust talk”, the Russian denied involvement and asked for proof. Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of the State, said discussion on the issue was focused on "how to we move forward from here, because it's not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed-upon resolution... it's too important not to find a way forward."
However, the Associated Press reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Trump had accepted Putin's assurances that the Kremlin had not sought to interfere in the 2016 election.
Which raises the question—what would one expect from Trump, anyway?
After all, yesterday Trump reverted back to the argument he used months ago with Russia. At a press conference, the President said he thinks it was Russia that hacked U.S. election targets, but “probably other people, and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. ... Nobody really knows for sure.”Tweets about putin
What a statement for the President to make, which would necessarily lead to the ultimate position, Trump’s either accepting Putin’s denial or Trump’s somewhat approving of Putin’s so in the future, he could continue to say that “nobody knows”.
Yet, the American intelligence both past and current concur with unanimity that it was the Russians and that Putin was involved. There is no if’s or maybe’s.
Worse, according to news reports, the Russians are continuing to probe and engage in cyberwarfare under both President Obama and Trump.
So, where does that leave us?
The President, by not accepting his own intelligence, is telling the world that they shouldn’t rely upon American intelligence either. Thus, if Trump should tell us in the future that we need to proceed down the path of war or peace, why should we believe what he is saying is accurate if he is relying upon the same intelligence?
Trump, with a straight face, could not tell Putin to knock it off.
He might, if he wanted to be taken seriously, have said, Putin, if you hear me, and if you engaged in election interference, knock it off.”
So, now the world knows that Donald Trump can be rolled on the issue of Russia cyberattacks, past and future.. Bigly.
By accepting Putin’s version of no involvement, the President must, if he wants any credibility on this issue, explain to Americans why he is saying Russia had no involvement.
The clock is ticking as the Russian hackers hack.
But at least the President got to shake hands with Putin and presumably look into the Russian President’s heart.