On Friday, President Trump had his first face-to-face meeting (at the G20 summit) with Vladimirm Putin, and their respective high-ranking dignitaries predictably issued very different accounts of what happened during the talk. To presumably “clear the air,” Trump included the subject in his regularly scheduled Sunday tweetstorm. And despite U.S. intelligence’s unequivocal assessment that Russia interfered with the election — plus recent news that Russia is also targeting nuclear facilities and increasing spying in the U.S. — Trump did not deny the Russian foreign ministry’s statement about how he accepted Putin’s denial of election meddling.
Trump then announced that he and Putin hope to form a “Cyber Security unit” to prevent the hacking of future elections. In the process, he also subtweeted John Podesta (who “everyone” was talking about at G20, according to Trump) while complaining about the DNC and Obama over an election that he won eight months ago. Plus, Trump wants everyone to know that the removal of Russian sanctions was not on the table at the summit.
Dizzying as always. In response, Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio found the possibility of a cyber security unit with Russia to be unwise. He believes it’s “akin to partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit.'”
Rubio, whose election chances were arguably harmed by Russian meddling, makes a valid point. Much of the world blames Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for a chemical attack on his own people, all while Assad calls the accusations fake news. Sounds familiar, right?
For what it’s worth, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also spoke out. He thinks the idea of such a partnership with Putin isn’t the dumbest thing ever, but “it’s pretty close.”
UPDATE – 10:10pm EST: Trump’s sort-of backtracking on this mess already in a tweet: “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!”