Donald Trump was informed about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election two weeks before his inauguration, according to reports.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Trump was given classified information on Jan. 6, 2017, that said Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered cyberattacks to sway the election.
READ MORE: U.S. intelligence chief at odds with Trump, says Russia continues to ‘undermine’ country
Trump was inaugurated as U.S. president on Jan. 20, 2017.
The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers. Trump was “grudgingly convinced” by the material, according to several people who were in the intelligence briefing, the New York Times stated.
The White House hasn’t commented yet on the allegation but in a series of tweets in the hours after publication, Trump once again slammed the news media over the Russia summit as the “enemy of the people.”
The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear……..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018
On Thursday, NBC News also reported that former director of U.S. national intelligence, James Clapper, who was reportedly in the briefing, confirmed that evidence of Putin’s involvement of the election was shown to Trump.
Trump has flip-flopped repeatedly over what exactly he said to Putin at the summit earlier this week, and whether he believes that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
On Monday, during a meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump said he accepted the Russian leader’s denial of election meddling. But on Tuesday, after facing harsh criticism (even from his own party) Trump seemed to backtrack on what he said.
WATCH: Trump backpedals, now says Russia meddled in election
Trump then told reporters on Wednesday he didn’t believe Russia was still targeting the U.S. But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later that he does believe that Russia may try to target U.S. elections again and the “threat still exists.”
Later that evening Trump was on CBS for an interview and said Putin was only to blame “because he’s in charge of the country.”
What happened in the reported briefing meeting?
The New York Times report indicates that Trump’s knowledge of Putin’s interference in the 2016 election is nothing new. Here’s a break down of what reportedly happened in the Jan. 6, 2017 meeting.
The intelligence briefing was held at Trump Tower. Then-CIA director John Brennan, Clapper, former National Security Agency director Adm. Michael Rogers and then-FBI director James Comey all presented the material, describing information that left them convinced of Putin’s role, the report states.
READ MORE: Trump tries tougher tone with Putin amid backlash
The information includes stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee that had been seen in Russian military intelligence networks by the British, Dutch and American intelligence services, The Times said.
Trump appeared to accept the information presented to him that proved Russia meddled in the election, the report states.
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