Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said the "wiser" course for President Trump would be to refrain from commenting on the alleged Russian cyberattack which targeted several U.S. federal agencies and companies. But the president didn't completely follow that advice Saturday, when he expressed his views on the matter over Twitter.
Trump broke with the consensus by suggesting that China, not Russia, may have been the perpetrator, and that the urge to blame Russia stems from the media's fixation on Moscow as an antagonist. He didn't outright accuse Beijing or dismiss the possibility of the Kremlin's involvement, but the ambiguity of his comments is a departure from U.S. intelligence agencies and Pompeo himself, who said Russia was "pretty clearly" behind the incident.
The president also worked in another unfounded allegation of voter fraud, hinting that the cyberattack could have led to a hit on U.S. voting machines, costing him the election. There is no evidence to support any of those claims.
The comments were viewed by some as one more example of Trump's reluctance to potentially anger Russian President Vladimir Putin, a frequent criticism hurled at him throughout his time in the White House. Tim O'Donnell