Trump Declares, Despite Evidence: No President Has Ever Been This Tough on Russia

President Trump on Wednesday declared, despite all evidence, that “There’s been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia... I think President Putin knows that better than anyone. Better than the media.” The president was speaking briefly with reporters while seated at a Cabinet meeting in the White House. Asked directly if Russia is “still targeting the U.S.,” the president responded “Thank you very much, no.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later explained the quote, saying the president “said ‘thank you very much’ and was saying ‘no’ to answering questions.” However, The Daily Beast’s White House reporter Asawin Suebsaeng, who was on pool duty, was in the room close to Trump when the president had his interaction with ABC News journalist Cecilia Vega. According to his account, President Trump was very clearly responding “no” to the reporter’s question about whether or not the Russian government is still "targeting" the U.S. and its elections. While in the cabinet meeting, Trump also expanded on his answer shortly after uttering “no,” thus at least somewhat undermining Sanders's claim that Trump was saying he was declining to answer questions.