WSJ: Trump ignored advice to confront Putin over indictments
A White House official reported that aides briefed President Trump on a plan to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 election during the two leaders’ recent summit, but he ignored the advice.
In a report the The Wall Street Journal published on Friday, a White House official said Trump was advised to take the Justice Department’s recent indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers over election interference and “shove it in Putin’s face and look strong doing it.”
The indictment was filed just days before Trump and Putin’s summit in Helsinki.
The official told the Journal the president “did the exact opposite.”
“It was a well laid-out plan. Unfortunately, he didn’t execute on it,” the official reportedly continued.
The president drew sharp criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle this week after he appeared, while standing side-by-side with Putin in a joint press conference, to refute his own intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Trump later said on Tuesday that he misspoke, meaning to say he didn’t see why it “wouldn’t” be the Russians, instead of why it “would be.”
As a result, the Journal reported, plans are in jeopardy to make the president the “public face of planned efforts by the administration to stop election interference in the midterms.”