President Donald Trump’s refusal to rehash allegations of Kremlin-backed interference in the 2016 presidential election during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday incensed Democrat lawmakers and left wing media pundits.
Standing alongside Putin, President Trump steered clear of confrontation with the Russian, while questioning U.S. intelligence and last week’s federal indictments of 12 Russians for hacking into Democratic email accounts to purportedly hurt Hillary Clinton in 2016.“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” President Trump said following a two hour one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart. “He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
President Trump’s remarks prompted an onslaught of calls for the U.S. to respond to Russia’s alleged meddling, described as an “act of war.”
Leading up to the high stakes meeting between President Trump and Putin, CNN New Day host Chris Cuomo repeatedly accused Russia of “election hacking” to wage war against the U.S. “The big, ugly white elephant in the room will be the U.S. election hacking,” Cuomo speculated. “We’ve been calling it meddling, but I’m trying to stay away from the word because it’s just way too mild. This is an act of war.”
The CNN host described the Russian hacking allegations as “the truth”: “How does [Donald Trump] raise the act of war of the hacking and different attacks during the U.S. election when Vladimir Putin knows damn well that President Trump doesn’t really believe the truth and doesn’t put a whole lot of stock in the event itself?”
HuffPo’s Mike Signorile published an opinion-editorial on Monday morning affirming Russia committed an “act of war,” while accusing President Trump of refusing to discuss the allegations of meddling with the Russian President.
“You don’t have to believe there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to see this clearly: When Vladimir Putin and his top military intelligence officers facilitated the hacking of the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, they engaged in an act of war against the United States,” Signorile writes. “And that’s what Republicans would be calling it ― war ― if they weren’t in the tank with President Donald Trump, who, instead of strongly condemning Russia, is cozying up to Putin and is infuriated that he and his campaign are under investigation for colluding with Russia and obstructing the probe.”
Echoing Signorile’s hyperbolic analysis, MarketWatch columnist Rex Nutting on Tuesday wrote “Russia’s ongoing attack on our democracy amounts to an act of war,” and criticized President Trump for offering up warm praise for Putin.