Sanders Battles Reporters: Trump Has Been Tougher on Russia Than Obama Was in 8 Years
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders engaged in heated remarks with multiple members of the press corps on Tuesday.
NBC News' Kristen Welker and ABC News' Jonathan Karl pressed Sanders on President Donald Trump's perceived silence on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Welker asked Sanders whether Trump finally acknowledges Vladimir Putin's interference in the election after Robert Mueller announced indictments against several Russians.
Sanders said Trump "absolutely acknowledged" Russian meddling several times, calling Welker and her colleagues "confused" on the matter.
Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2018
I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia - it never did!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
"[Trump] hasn't said [Russia] didn't meddle," Sanders said. "He said Russia didn't have an impact" on the New York mogul's victory.
Welker, a former anchor for NBC-10 in Philadelphia, followed up by asking why Trump has not yet enforced new sanctions against the country that were passed by Congress last year, if he indeed acknowledged meddling on behalf of the Kremlin.
Sanders said Russia needs to violate certain policies in order for Trump to be able to enforce the new sanctions.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 20, 2018
Karl asked Sanders what Trump is "specifically doing" in the wake of Mueller's announcement.
Sanders said Trump has been tougher on Russia than President Obama had been over eight years.
"This [meddling] happened under the Obama administration," she said, adding that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is remaining out in front on the matter.
Karl also questioned whether Trump thinks - in relation to a recent tweet - that the FBI failed to act on tips about the Florida school shooting suspect because the bureau was too focused on the Russia probe.
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