Steven Mnuchin Defends Trump’s Planned ‘Cyber Security Unit’ With Putin As A ‘Significant Accomplishment’

On Sunday morning, President Trump told Americans that it’s time to move forward from Russia hacking the election, and in doing so, he failed to address whether he accepted Vladimir Putin’s meddling denial (as the Russian foreign ministry previously claimed). Trump also announced plans for a joint “cyber security unit” with Putin, which resulted in some immediate mocking by Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio, who analogized the plan to “partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit.'” As this happened, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was visiting with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, and of course, he defended his boss’ decision:

“What we want to make sure is that we coordinate with Russia, that we’re focused on cybersecurity together, that we make sure that they never interfere in any Democratic elections or conduct any cybersecurity. And this is like any other strategic alliance, whether we’re doing military exercises with our allies or anything else. This is about having capabilities to make sure that we both fight cyber together, which I think is a very significant accomplishment for President Trump.”

There’s not too much to unpack here. Mnuchin was expected to lavish praise upon this “strategic alliance” even though Russia’s recent targeting of nuclear facilities and increased spying in the U.S. make it extremely clear that such a “cyber” partnership is a disastrous idea. Further, the entire Trump administration appears to be dancing around how Russia’s foreign minister has publicized a very different account than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on what happened during the talk.

Also during his visit with Stephanopoulos, Mnuchin declined to confirm or deny whether or not Trump accepted Putin’s denial of election meddling. Instead, he said that it “makes no sense” to “broadcast exactly what was said.” It should be noted that Mnuchin attended the G20 summit but wasn’t in the room to hear what Trump and Putin actually said to each other.

(Via ABC News)