President Trump on Thursday gave a mixed message on how much Russia meddled in the U.S. election last year.
“I think it was Russia, and it could have been other people in other countries,” Trump told reporters. “It could have been a lot of people interfered.”
The commander in chief’s statement breaks from intelligence agencies, who have placed the blame squarely on the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He didn’t detail which nations have been doing this for a “long period of time,” however.
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“Nobody really knows,” he added. “Nobody really knows for sure.”
Trump bashed those agencies along with President Obama as he stood alongside Polish President Andrej Duda at a joint news conference in Warsaw.
The President is set to sit down with Putin on Friday — their first face-to-face encounter since Trump took office — during a sideline meeting at the G20 conference in Hamburg, Germany.
The President, who previously deemed the Russia accusations hoax, has blamed Obama for not ordering a strong retaliation against Russia when he found out about the election hacking. Putin has denied the claims.
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On Thursday the former businessman also said his own intelligence agencies couldn’t say if anything was a slam-dunk.
He cited how agencies such as the CIA misinterpreted proof of weapons of mass destruction, leading to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Trump, during the Thursday morning conference at Warsaw’s Royal Castle, also said he’s considering “some pretty severe things” to address North Korea’s recent missile test.
Tuesday’s rocket test, Trump said in his first remarks since North Korea launched the missile, was “very, very bad behavior,” a “threat” and the U.S. would “confront it very strongly.”
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“It’s a shame that they’re behaving this way,” Trump said of North Korea’s leadership. “But they are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner, and something will have to be done about it.”
Officials believe the isolated dictatorship’s intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, is the most sophisticated North Korea has sent up.
U.S. and South Korean militaries responded with their own surface-to-surface missile tests.
Trump indicated he’s mulling several options for handling North Korea.
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North Korea wasn’t the only adversary he discussed during the joint news conference.
Trump addressed his long-standing feud with CNN Thursday, a few days after tweeting a video of himself tackling a man whose head was covered with the network’s logo.
“They have been fake news for a long time, and they have been covering me” dishonestly, Trump said of CNN when asked about the tweet. “We don’t want fake news.”
He also took a pot shot at NBC — his former employer — for the second time in a week.
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“NBC is nearly as bad, despite the fact that I made them a lot of money on ‘The Apprentice,’” Trump said.
Before he headed to Germany for the G20, Trump delivered a roughly 35-minute speech in Krasinski Square — the site commemorating the 1944 Warsaw Uprisings against the Nazis.
He harped on the Polish history of fighting back multiple occupations, calling the 1939 invasions by Germany and the Soviet Union as a “tough” time.
“That’s trouble. That’s tough,” he said of the World War II occupation of Poland.
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Trump offered a harsher stance on Russia to the crowd of cheering Poles. He pointed to a pending energy deal that he said freed Poland from depending on Moscow for energy.
He also pulled from a regular campaign line: that some European nations in NATO haven’t been paying their fair share until now.
Trump claimed that “billions” of dollars were now being committed to the defense alliance, without naming which countries were stepping up their support.
“Billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO,” Trump said. “In fact, people are shocked. But billions and billions of dollars more.”
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With News Wire Services
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