Trump remains silent as massive cyber hack poses 'grave risk' to government
December 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 12: U.S. President Donald Trump departs on the South Lawn of the White House, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to the Army versus Navy Football Game at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)
When President Donald Trump convened his Cabinet at the White House Wednesday as Washington absorbed news of a massive data breach, the heads of most agencies relevant to the intrusion — including the Department of Defense, the State Department, the Justice Department, the director of national intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency — were absent.
(CNN)When President Donald Trump convened his Cabinet at the White House Wednesday as Washington absorbed news of a massive data breach, the heads of most agencies relevant to the intrusion — including the Department of Defense, the State Department, the Justice Department, the director of national intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency — were absent.
The massive data breach, revealed in the final weeks of Trump's administration, amounts to a dramatic coda for a presidency clouded by questions of deference to Russia and unsuccessful attempts to warm relations with its President, Vladimir Putin.
The White House has not listed an intelligence briefing on the President's daily schedule since early October, though officials say he is regularly briefed on intelligence even when a formal briefing doesn't appear on his calendar and a senior White House official told CNN that Trump was briefed on the hack by his top intelligence officials on Thursday.
"Our adversaries should know that, as President, I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation," Biden said in a statement on Thursday, making no specific mention of Trump or his administration, but also not naming Russia as the culprit.
Senate Republicans on Thursday said they didn't see an issue in Trump's silence while his administration works to get to the bottom of the matter.
While Trump has not said anything about the attack, his former homeland security adviser Tom Bossert urged the President in an op-ed to formally attribute responsibility and, if Russia is confirmed behind it, "make it clear to Vladimir Putin that these actions are unacceptable. "
It wasn't only election meddling that failed to draw condemnation from the President; he did not raise with Putin the issue of Russia placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan when he spoke to him over the summer — another issue that Trump claimed was never contained in his intelligence briefings, even though officials said it was included a written briefing from February.
So annoyed has Trump become at mention of Russian misdeeds that, in the past, he has resisted intelligence warnings about Russia, leading members of his national security ream — including those who delivered the President's Daily Brief — to brief him less often on Russia-related threats to the US, multiple former Trump administration officials have told CNN.
When his oral intelligence briefing included information related to Russia's malign activities against the United States, Trump often questioned the intelligence itself.