In a barrage of Twitter messages on Monday, Trump also accused former President Barack Obama of failing to act in response to intelligence reports that Russian Federation was meddling in the 2016 USA elections because he thought Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the presidency despite the Kremlin's clan destine efforts. "We all know that", Spicer insisted.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a Monday press briefing that President Donald Trump was "joking" when he told Russian Federation he hoped they could "find" former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's emails.
Trump has often expressed deep frustration over accusations that individuals in his orbit colluded with Russian Federation during the election and assertions that he may have tried to personally influence the FBI's probe into the matter. "So Trump needs to have a good relationship with him, but he also needs to fulfill his campaign promises of establishing better relations with Russian Federation". "Focus on them, not T!".
US President Donald Trump gestures to members of the media gathered in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, June 26, 2017.
Spicer said Trump has been consistent in his position since January: "He believes that Russian Federation probably was involved, potentially".More news: Chicago Mayor: High Court's travel ban decision 'concerning'
"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent", said Jake Sullivan, a top Clinton policy adviser, soon after Trump's comments.
In January 2017, the United States intelligence community voiced its conclusions that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hackers to use cybercrime in order to sway the 2016 United States vote in favor of Donald Trump, to the detriment of his rival Hillary Clinton.
Doubling down in a Twitter storm Monday morning, he charged that Obama had "colluded and obstructed" by failing to act after the Central Intelligence Agency informed him President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an operation to help defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton last November.
A former Obama White House official on Monday dismissed Trump's attacks on the ex-president as "a transparent effort to distract" from the impact of the administration's embattled efforts to repeal and replace Obama's health care reforms.
Adam Entous, the Washington Post reporter who co-wrote the latest big story on Russian meddling, said Obama administration officials were sent back to the "drawing board" on how to proceed with the information after meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"This situation was taken extremely seriously", the official added, defending Obama's decision to raise the issue directly with President Putin, direct a comprehensive intelligence review, shut down two Russian compounds, sanction nine Russian entities and individuals, and eject 35 Russian diplomats from the country.