During his first press conference outside the U.S., President Donald Trump said Russia played a role in hacking the 2016 Presidential election, but still cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s findings. While he thinks Russia interfered with the election, he added that “nobody really knows for sure.” He suggested that Russia wasn’t the only country that tried to interfere.
“Well, I think it was Russia and I think it was other people in other countries who also interfere,” Trump said, with Polish President Andrzej Duda by his side. “I won’t be specific, but I think a lot of people interfere.”
The President then attacked his predecessor, President Barack Obama, for not having done enough to stop Russia during the campaign. Trump has been attacking Obama since a Washington Post report in June detailed how the Obama Administration tried to deal with Russia. The Post reported that Obama was given a CIA report about Russia’s meddling in August 2016, three months before the election.
“They say he choked. I don’t think he choked,” Trump said in Poland. “I think what happened is he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and he chose not to do anything about it. If he thought I was going to win, he would have done something about it.”
The press conference was the first part of a visit to Warsaw, where Trump also delivered a speech before leaving for Hamburg, Germany. In the speech, Trump finally endorsed NATO’s Article 5 after not doing so during his previous trip to Europe. Article 5 states that an attack on any NATO country is an attack on all, and it has only been invoked after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
During that speech, Trump said the West has to defend its civilization and way of life from “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent,” Trump said.
“I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization,” Trump said, reports the New York Times. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive… Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”
Trump did have some strong words for Russia, urging Moscow to “cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes.”
While in Warsaw, Trump also spoke at the Three Seas Initiative Summit, which is an international deal among the 12 countries near the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. He also met with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia.
Trump then flew to Hamburg, where he will participate in the G20 summit. There, he will have his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.