• 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.
“We were prepared to be thrown out,” Clapper said in an interview. The officials were escorted into a spacious conference room on the 14th floor of Trump Tower.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.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.He continues to pursue an elusive bond with Putin, which he sees as critical to dealing with North Korea, Iran and other issues.“Having Russia in a friendly posture,” he said last month, “is an asset to the world and an asset to our country.” His position has alienated close American allies and often undercut members of his Cabinet — all against the backdrop of a criminal probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.(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.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.