Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden, don't punish India Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict MORE (D-N.J.) ripped President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE on Wednesday for saying Russia is no longer targeting the United States, noting that the remarks contradict recent statements by U.S. intelligence officials appointed by Trump.
“Every one of our intelligence agencies, those who are led by appointees of President Trump, have said not only has Russia engaged actively in trying to undermine the elections of 2016 against Secretary Clinton and for now-President Trump, and that are they continuing to do so,” Menendez said on MSNBC.
He cited recent comments by Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race Cyber preparedness could save America's 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' MORE, who said last week that “the warning lights are blinking red again” for possible Russian cyberattacks against the U.S.
“It is appalling that the president cannot seem to stand up to Vladimir Putin,” Menendez added, referring to the Russian president. “And that really means that there’s gotta be something more that we don’t see because it would even be in his political interest to stand up to him, not only the national interest and security of the United States. Yet he fails to do so.”
Hey @ODNIgov Coats, can you clarify if Russia is continuing to target the United States?? Because the President just said "no." Unless he's about to correct himself and say he meant "yes"??— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 18, 2018
This is why I believe that there is some kind of compromising set of circumstances here pic.twitter.com/venBEd9x8A
Trump also told reporters that "there has never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been."
Trump has faced intense scrutiny this week after appearing to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russia's election interference at a joint press conference Monday in Helsinki. He then attempted to walk back the comments, saying he misspoke.
“I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump said Tuesday.
"Could be other people also," he added. "A lot of people out there."