Donald Trump backtracks on his plans for joining Russia in ‘an impenetrable cyber security unit’
The US president said while the prospect was discussed, it didn’t mean he actually thought it could happen.
Donald Trump has backtracked on his plans to create “an impenetrable cyber security unit” with Russia hours after discussing the idea with President Vladimir Putin.
The leaders recently came face to face for the first time at the G20 summit in Germany where they announced they had negotiated a ceasefire in southern Syria.
Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
After the meeting, Trump tweeted: “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded … and safe.”
However, shortly after posting the tweet – which was heavily mocked – Trump appeared to drop his plans of a partnership with Putin in another tweet, which said: “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t-but a ceasefire can,& did!”
The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't-but a ceasefire can,& did!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017
The initial tweet drew widespread ridicule from the public and politicians, including Republican Marco Rubio who likened the partnership to Syrian president Bashar Assad and use of chemical weapons against his own citizens.
However, the US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended the prospect, arguing the idea “doesn’t mean we ever trust Russia. We can’t trust Russia and we won’t ever trust Russia.”
Partnering with Putin on a "Cyber Security Unit" is akin to partnering with Assad on a "Chemical Weapons Unit". 2/3— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 9, 2017
Trump said he’d “strongly pressed” Putin about Russia’s involvement in “meddling” with the 2016 US election, referring to US intelligence agencies’ conclusions Russian hackers tried to sway the election in Trump’s favour. Trump said Putin “vehemently denied” the claims, though didn’t reveal whether he believed the Russian president.
Putin said the US president had accepted his denials, saying: “He asked questions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was satisfied with the answers.”
But White House chief of staff Reince Priebus later said: “The president absolutely didn’t believe the denial of President Putin.”