During Sunday night’s presidential debate, Donald Trump dug himself into a hole while speaking about Russia. Though the Republican presidential nominee has been briefed by intelligence officials about the state of U.S.-Russian relations, especially as it pertains to Russian hackers, he maintained that he “know[s] nothing about Russia.”
“I notice anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say ‘the Russians’ — she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” Trump said. “Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia is because they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know nothing about Russia.” He went on to deny that he had any knowledge of the “inner-workings” of Russian politics or business.
However, a senior U.S. intelligence official has come forward to assure NBC News that both parties’ candidates, surrogates, and campaign leadership have been extensively briefed on cybersecurity and the Russian government’s effort to undermine the 2016 election. “To profess not to know at this point is willful misrepresentation,” the official told NBC News. “The intelligence community has walked a very thin line in not taking sides, but both candidates have all the information they need to be crystal clear.”
During the first presidential debate, Trump made similar claims that he was unsure about Russia’s involvement in the DNC hacks (all while insulting overweight hackers everywhere). “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” he said. “She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?”
(Via NBC News)