Ambassador: Trump will get tough with Kremlin
Washington — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says there’s no question Russia was involved in the U.S. presidential election and insists President Donald Trump would fully support strong action against the Kremlin once investigations are complete.
Speaking in television interviews broadcast Sunday, Nikki Haley contended there is no contradiction between her tough stance and Trump’s repeated public statements seeking to minimize Russia’s role. She said Trump “has not once” told her to stop “beating up on Russia.”
She joins Defense Secretary James Mattis as Trump administration officials who have forcefully called out Russia for its actions during the 2016 U.S. campaign.
“We don’t want any country involved in our elections, ever,” Haley said. “We need to be very strong on that.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied his country meddled in the 2016 contest between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. While Trump himself has said he believes Russian operatives hacked Democratic Party emails during the election, he has repeatedly lambasted as “fake news” any suggestion that he or his staff had connections to Russia.
Trump tweets on
Trump continued his attacks over the weekend, tweeting: “It is the same Fake News Media that said there is ‘no path to victory for Trump’ that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!”
He added on Sunday: “The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers.”
U.S. intelligence agencies report that Russia tried to help Trump’s campaign effort. The FBI as well as congressional committees are investigating whether the Russian government coordinated with Trump associates during the campaign. The White House is also trying to quell a firestorm over its behind-the-scenes role in helping the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, view secret intelligence reports that he says pointed to inappropriate leaking.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, went to the White House on Friday to view materials that he said were “precisely the same.” He declined on Sunday to describe the contents, but criticized the unorthodox disclosure to Nunes, suggesting that the material was more likely an “effort to deflect attention” and “create a cloud through which the public cannot see.”
“Whenever they see the president use the word ‘fake,’ it should set off alarm bells,” Schiff said. “I think that’s really what going on here.”
Trump as president persuaded Haley to leave the governorship of South Carolina to represent the U.S. at the United Nations. She said she was “beating up on Russia” over issues such as its actions in Crimea and its dispute with Ukraine.