Just four days after President Donald Trump announced that he believed American intelligence agencies when they said that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election, he contradicted himself again, calling it a “hoax.” So White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had some explaining to do Monday during her press briefing.
“So does he believe the interference was a big hoax — or does he have faith in the intelligence agencies that have concluded definitively the other way?” asked Philip Rucker of The Washington Post in the video of the briefing above.
Sanders insisted that Trump was “referencing the [Trump campaign] collusion component” and not Russian election interference. The president, however, didn’t mention that in his latest hoax tweet Sunday, and Rucker pointed out that Trump “suggested overall that it was a hoax.”
“As the president has said many times, and stated it over and over again … we maintain that Russia interfered in the elections,” Sanders said. “The president, however ... has repeatedly [said] that his campaign colluding in that process is a total hoax.”
Jon Lemire of The Associated Press asked Sanders why Trump can’t denounce Russia for its election interference with the same vigor he has attacked North Korea and Iran.
“The president has been incredibly tough on Russia,” Sanders said. “I’m not sure why that is so hard for the media to write about. We’ve repeated it time and time again. The policy that the president has been, since day one in office, has been extremely tough on Russia, probably more so than with any other country.”
Here’s how Trump backtracked last week on earlier skepticism that Russia interfered in the U.S. election.