Bolton: No disconnect between Trump, administration officials on Russian interference

Bolton: No disconnect between Trump, administration officials on Russian interference
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National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday said there is no disconnect between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE and his top intelligence officials on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, even as the president continued to label the issue a "hoax."

Bolton said on "Fox News Sunday" that the president directed five of his national security officials to speak at a White House press briefing last week to detail efforts to deter future election meddling.

"I think what he’s saying by the 'hoax' is the idea that the Russians somehow directed and controlled his campaign … that there was some conspiracy, that there was some violation of U.S. law in 2016," Bolton said.

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"Everybody who participated in the press conference, as has the president, said that the intelligence community assessment of Russian meddling in 2016 is valid," Bolton added.

Bolton said the idea that there's a disconnect between the president and his administration on the issue is a "press narrative," though there have been clear rhetorical divides between the president and his top officials.

Bolton last Thursday joined Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHillicon Valley: Facebook co-founder calls for breaking up company | Facebook pushes back | Experts study 2020 candidates to offset 'deepfake' threat | FCC votes to block China Mobile | Groups, lawmakers accuse Amazon of violating children's privacy Experts are studying mannerisms of 2020 candidates to help offset threat of 'deepfake' videos Bolton held unexpected meeting on Iran with top intel, military advisers at CIA: report MORE, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenActing DHS secretary threatened to quit after clashing with Miller: report Trump wants border wall black, pointed: report Former DHS officials blocked Trump plan to arrest thousands of migrants before being ousted: report MORE, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Security Agency Director Gen. Paul Nakasone, who detailed their agencies' efforts to address election meddling.

Each individual specifically called out Russia, and warned that they continue to see Russian efforts to interfere. 

"In regards to Russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States," Coats said.

Trump, however, has at times cast doubt on that conclusion. He drew significant backlash after he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, when Trump noted Putin's "powerful" denials of Russian interference.

Trump later expressed confidence in the intelligence community's assessment that Russia meddled, but has undercut that message by repeatedly referring to Russian interference as a "hoax," and labeling the special counsel investigation into the matter a "witch hunt."

At a rally on Saturday, Trump suggested that China and North Korea could also be to blame.

Bolton said Sunday that Russia was "the principal violator in 2016 and their activity this year puts them in the lead," but added that it "does not exclude the potential for others to meddle."