Putin 'told Trump that Russian hackers are too good to get caught'

And Trump is now repeating the same claims, the White House has confirmed 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Tuesday 25 July 2017 15:05
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump meet at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on 7 July 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump meet at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on 7 July 2017

Vladimir Putin reportedly told Donald Trump that if Russian hackers had infiltrated Democratic groups, they would have been too good to have been caught. And now the President is making the same claims, the White House has admitted.

According to the New York Times, Mr Putin told Mr Trump during their G20 meeting that "Moscow’s cyber-operators are so good at covert computer-network operations that if they had dipped into the computer systems, there is no way they could have been detected".

Since then Trump has shared this claim with his team, his communications director Anthony Scaramucci has said.

During a CNN interview on Sunday, Mr Scaramucci told Jake Tapper that "someone" had told him Russian hackers were too good to be detected. "You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won't tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it," Mr Scaramucci told Mr Tapper.

"You would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they're super confident in their deception skills and hacking," he continued.

When Mr Tapper questioned who his source was, Mr Scaramucci admitted that it was Mr Trump.

"How about it was — how about it was the president, Jake?" Scaramucci said. "I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One. And he basically said to me, 'Hey, you know, this is —maybe they did it. Maybe they didn't do it'."

Several US intelligence agencies concluded in a report that the people who hacked the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's emails were Russian in an effort to help Mr Trump get elected.

The FBI, Congress, and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller are investigating the Trump campaign team's alleged ties to Russian officials.

Mr Trump's son-in-law and White House Jared Kushner testified in a closed session in front of the Senate intelligence committee. Donald Trump Jr and former campaign manager Paul Manafort are set to testify later this week.

All three were involved in a previously undisclosed meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Mr Kushner had failed to disclose the meeting in his paperwork to obtain security clearance as well as $51 million in assets. He claims that he was only at the meeting briefly, asking his assistant to call him to give him an excuse to leave it.

Mr Trump Jr admitted in a statement that the meeting was not strictly about the Magnitsky Act, a US law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers but was taken in an effort the gain information Ms Veselnitskaya's go-between said she had about Ms Clinton's supposed financial ties to Russia.

Administration aides have said it was all in the course of campaign work done as "opposition research".

It is unclear when this particular statement was made, however Mr Trump and Mr Putin held an official meeting of over two hours with just two translators and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson present in the room.

It was later reported the two met for an additional hour during a G20 state dinner after the official meeting. Mr Lavrov said given the nature of such a summit, Mr Putin and Mr Trump could have met several more times informally.

Mr Trump tweeted on 23 July that he maintains the Russian story is a "phony...witch hunt".

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