Two former US intelligence chiefs say Donald Trump’s stance on Russian meddling in final 12 months’s presidential election is placing the US in danger.
The US president sparked uproar by suggesting he believed Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when he mentioned there had been no interference.
The 2 leaders briefly mentioned the allegations at an Asia-Pacific summit.
US intelligence has lengthy concluded Russia tried to sway the vote in Mr Trump’s favour.
“Each time he [Putin] sees me he says I did not try this, and I actually imagine that when he tells me that, he means it,” Mr Trump informed reporters.
“I believe he’s very insulted by it, which isn’t a superb factor for our nation.”
Mr Trump additionally disparaged key figures within the US intelligence neighborhood who concluded in January that Russian meddling had taken place, together with former nationwide intelligence chief James Clapper, ex-CIA director John Brennan and sacked FBI chief James Comey, whom he referred to as “political hacks”.
Mr Trump has since sought to mollify critics of his comments following uproar at his obvious defence of Mr Putin.
Ex-intelligence chiefs go on the assault
Mr Clapper mentioned he was alarmed by the president’s feedback.
“Putin is dedicated to undermining our system, our democracy and our entire course of,” he told CNN.
“To attempt to paint it in another approach is, I believe, astounding and actually poses a peril to this nation.”
Showing alongside him, Mr Brennan, mentioned he discovered it “puzzling” why Mr Trump was no more express in condemning the Russian president when it represented a “nationwide safety drawback”.
Referring to Mr Trumps criticism of him, Mr Brennan mentioned: “Contemplating the supply of the criticism, I think about that criticism a badge of honour.”
Why the row issues
Questions surrounding Russia’s position in final 12 months’s US elections and allegations of collusion involving Donald Trump’s marketing campaign crew have dogged his presidency.
US intelligence businesses imagine Russia tried to assist Mr Trump win the presidency by hacking and releasing emails damaging to his opponent Hillary Clinton.
Whereas Russian hackers are extensively suspected of involvement, there was no conclusive hyperlink to the Kremlin.
Particular counsel Robert Mueller is at present investigating whether or not there have been any hyperlinks between Russia and the Trump marketing campaign. Each deny there was any collusion.
Final month, former Trump marketing campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded responsible to having lied to the FBI concerning the timing of conferences with alleged go-betweens for Russia.
Mr Trump’s former marketing campaign supervisor, Paul Manafort, and an affiliate had been additionally positioned below home arrest on costs of cash laundering because of the Mueller inquiry, however the costs don’t relate to the election.