Trump Backtracks on Russia Security Partnership Plans

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US President Donald Trump has backtracked on plans for cybersecurity co-operation with Russia that were ridiculed by senior lawmakers after he tweeted them following a G20 meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Once again using his favorite online social media format to communicate rather than a more traditional press conference, Trump claimed to have “strongly pressed” the Russian President about election hacking and said that Putin “vehemently denied it.”

Later he had the following:

“Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded…and safe.”

That prompted much derision from cybersecurity experts and senior members of his own party.

Florida senator Marc Rubio argued that Putin “will never be a trusted ally or a reliable constructive partner.

“Partnering with Putin on a ‘Cyber Security Unit’ is akin to partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit’,” he tweeted.

The Trump appeared to do a 180-degree turn with the following tweet soon after:

“The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't…”

Trump is also at odds with his secretary of state Rex Tillerson, ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and his intelligence services, who maintain that Russian agents were involved in widespread election interference last year.

The received intelligence is that damaging Democratic Party emails were hacked and leaked for maximum effect by the Kremlin ahead of the presidential election. Hillary Clinton for one has blamed 'Russian WikiLeaks' in part for her defeat last November.

Trump’s comments came at a G20 summit in which the US President was reportedly side-lined by other nations over his stance on climate change.

Despite the White House releasing a short photo montage designed to show Trump at the center of things, a withering take on his performance by ABC seemed more in line with reports from the Hamburg summit of world leaders.

“We learned Mr Trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the US as a global leader. He managed to diminish his nation and to confuse and alienate his allies,” said the Australian broadcaster’s political editor, Chris Uhlman.

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