President Donald Trump suggested China may have been behind a cyberattack breaching U.S. government agencies and companies, going against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments less than 24 hours earlier.
Mr. Trump tweeted at 11:30 am ET, blaming the media and claiming that he has been “fully briefed” with everything under control before shifting blame to China.
“Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of……..discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!)” Mr. Trump wrote in a pair of tweets.
NBC News reported White House officials were planning to issue a statement on Friday, saying Russia was responsible for the cyberattack but were told to stand down. Meanwhile, the White House was caught off guard by the President’s tweets.
“At this time the NSC is focused on investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident, and working with our interagency partners to mitigate the situation,” National Security Council spokesperson told NBC News. “There will be an appropriate response to those actors behind this conduct.”
Ever since his election victory back in 2016, Russia has been a very sensitive subject for Mr. Trump. An FBI investigation by Robert Mueller found the Russian government had interfered in the 2016 election that resulted in Mr. Trump defeating Hillary Clinton. The President said last year he had never worked for Russia, after The New York Times reported he had become influenced by Russian President Vladamir Putin.
Mr. Trump’s tweets come less than 24 hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was “pretty clear” the origin of the attack came from the Russians.
“I can’t say much more as we’re still unpacking precisely what it is, and I’m sure some of it will remain classified,” Pompeo told Fox News’ Mark Levin on Friday. “This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.”
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted on Saturday that it was “increasingly clear that Russian intelligence conducted the gravest cyber intrusion in our history.”