US President Donald Trump ‘not getting played by anybody,’ says Steven Mnuchin

November 12, 2017 11:12 pm
President (R) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin chat as they walk together to take part in the “family photo” during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US Treasury Secretary says President Donald Trump “is not getting played by anybody,” after the commander in chief said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Mnuchin said it was “ridiculous” to indicate that the US president was being played.
In a declassified report released in January, the intelligence community concluded that Russia helped with the New York billionaire’s campaign effort ahead of winning the White House, an allegation dismissed both by Moscow and Trump.
After talking with Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam, Trump said aboard US Air Force One that, “Every time he [Putin] sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”
‘Time to move on’
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin exits the stage after speaking at the Economic Club of New York on November 9, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by AFP)
Trump’s comments were met by harsh criticism inside the US with many asking how the US president sticks to the Kremlin’s narrative rather than the country’s intelligence community.
Therefore, Trump later changed his mind about the issue, saying “I believe he feels he and Russia did not meddle in the election… As to whether or not I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies. I believe in our… intelligence agencies.”
Top White House officials, however, rushed to Sunday’s political talk shows to defended Trump’s comments and dismiss allegations of meddling and collusion.
“It’s really time to move on off this issue,” Mnuchin said on CBS. “Nobody thinks this has had any impact on the election,” he said. “So whatever occurred, there was no impact. So I think the American public is ready to move on to more important issues: tax reform and foreign policy and national security.”
Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, also appeared on NBC, where he said the president believes in “zero evidence of any ballot being impacted by Russian interference.”
“What the president is trying to do right now is recognize the gravest threat that America faces is North Korea developing nuclear weapons,” he said. “And nuclear weapons in North Korea is a greater threat than Russia buying Facebook ads in America.”
A special council is currently investigating ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin to find out evidence of possible collusion.
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