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President Trump said he discussed the U.S. investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election with Russian President Vladimir Putin today, calling the probe a “hoax.”

Trump told reporters that he remarked to Putin that “the Russia hoax” had made it difficult for the U.S. and Russia to deal with each other, “and we discussed that.”

“I said, ‘You know, it’s a very appropriate time, because things are falling out now and coming in line showing what a hoax this whole investigation was, it was a total disgrace, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a lot of things happen over the next number of weeks,”’ Trump said. “This is just one piece of a very dishonest puzzle.”

Trump disagrees with U.S. intelligence agencies; two congressional committees that investigated the issue; his own Defense secretary, director of national intelligence and national security adviser; and private cybersecurity experts.

The Mueller Report found that the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” and “violated U.S. criminal law”

A report issued by high-ranking American intelligence officials in January of 2017 concluded that Russian operatives reporting to Putin interfered in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump. It was drafted and compiled by the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency.

The document stated that Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election” aiming to “denigrate Secretary Clinton” and showing a “clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

On July 3, 2018, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued a bipartisan report which asserted that the intelligence community’s findings on Russian meddling were fairly and professionally done and that more evidence had since come forward.

“As the inquiry has progressed since January 2017, the Committee has seen additional examples of Russia’s attempts to sow discord, undermine democratic institutions, and interfere in U.S. elections and those of our allies,” the report noted.

Former Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, frequently warned his government colleagues of the dangers Russia poses to America’s cybersecurity.

“The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. It is why I believe we are at a critical point,” Coats said, while addressing the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., on Friday. “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”

Coats called Russia the “most aggressive foreign actor, no question.”

The Justice Department has indicted 13 Russian operatives and three companies on charges related to waging “information warfare against the United States of America” and interfering with the election to help the Trump campaign.

Last year, the department announced further charges against 12 Russian nationals on counts of hacking the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and state election systems. Several of those indicted worked for the G.R.U, Russia’s military intelligence agency.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton has also indicated he believes Russians interfered in the election, and said Putin probably knew about it.

Bolton told ABC News that he found it “hard to believe” Putin didn’t know about Russian military intelligence officials’ efforts to interfere in the elections.

Bolton said Putin “made it plain that he said the Russian state was not involved,” when the pair met in Moscow ahead of the Trump-Putin summit. Putin “was very clear with his translator that [state] was the word that he wanted,” Bolton said.


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