Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, deemed the White House "weak" after President Trump on Friday apparently took Russian President Vladimir Putin's word that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — a contradiction of U.S. intelligence agencies' overwhelming consensus to the contrary. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reported the conversation after Trump and Putin's first-ever meeting during the G-20 summit in Germany, though a senior Trump administration official has since denied Trump accepted Putin's assurances.
McFaul argued that while there can be "disagreements with Russia about policies," there cannot be "disagreements about basic facts," like that Russia meddled in the U.S. election:
McFaul also scoffed at Putin and Trump's apparent focus on how to "move forward," as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put it, given it was the leaders' first-ever face-to-face meeting. After Putin annexed Crimea, "propped up" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and meddled in the U.S. elections, "of course, he wants to 'move on,'" McFaul wrote. Becca Stanek