President Trump’s touting of a proposed partnership with Russia on cybersecurity drew withering reviews Sunday from lawmakers, including several from his own party, while the president’s aides were left struggling to answer questions about just how hard Trump pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Moscow’s meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election. Late Sunday, Trump appeared to back away from the cyber-partnership idea. Trump’s encounter with Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday was his first meeting as president with the Russian leader. It came after months of controversy over Russian meddling and whether anyone close to Trump’s campaign had colluded in it.
The White House has sought to portray Trump’s trip to Germany and a stopover beforehand in Poland as a solid success, despite a striking degree of U.S. isolation over climate change and trade at the G-20 gathering.
Trump returned Saturday to what promises to be a bruising new round of battles over the faltering Senate healthcare plan and fresh GOP anxiety over whether the party, which controls both houses of Congress, can notch meaningful legislative achievements by summer’s end.
As often happens, Trump made the job of White House underlings more difficult — this time, with a series of tweets Sunday morning in which he again seemed to equivocate on whether Russian hacking had taken place. He also revived attack lines against former President Obama and John Podesta, who ran Hillary Clinton’s losing presidential campaign.