President Donald Trump on Saturday denied a New York Times report claiming the U.S. is ramping up cyber attacks against Russia, calling the decision to run the article a “virtual act of treason.”
According to the Times, the U.S. is increasingly targeting Russia’s electric power grid and has even gone as far as to install debilitating code inside it. The operation is the first of its kind, according to the newspaper, which also claimed two administration officials said President Donald Trump is believed not to have been briefed on the mission.
Reacting to the report in a pair of tweets, President Trump wrote: “Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.”
The president went on to deny the report’s veracity, stating it was “NOT TRUE!”
“Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” he concluded.
Moments earlier, President Trump defended his decision to be interviewed by ABC News. The president made headlines after telling interviewer George Stephanopoulos that he was open to accepting opposition research on his 2020 Democrat rivals from a foreign government.
“I enjoyed my interview with @GStephanopoulos on @ABC. So funny to watch the Fake News Media try to dissect & distort every word in as negative a way as possible,” President Trump wrote.
“Think I will do many more Network Interviews, as I did in 2016, in order to get the word out that no President has done what I have in…the first 2 1/2 years of his Presidency, including the fact that we have one of the best Economies in the history of our Country,” he went on. “It is called Earned Media. In any event, enjoy the show!”
On Friday, President Trump clarified his remarks, stating that “of course” he would notify the FBI or the Department of Justice if a foreign power offered him dirt about a rival.
“Of course you have to look at it because if you don’t look at it you won’t know it’s bad,” the president told Fox and Friends. “But, of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that.”
“I don’t think anybody would present me with anything bad because they know how much I love this country. Nobody’s gonna present me with anything bad,” he added.