New book claims that Trump was 'surprised' when Nikki Haley confronted him over his head-scratching Helsinki summit with Putin
- Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley writes in her new book that President Donald Trump was "surprised" when she confronted him about his wild July 2018 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- During the joint press conference with Putin, Trump said that he didn't see "any reason" why Russia would have meddled in the 2016 US election, despite his own intelligence agencies assessments.
- In her new book "With All Due Respect," Haley writes that she confronted Trump after the summit and told him that his siding with Putin on the issue of election meddling made her "very uncomfortable."
- Trump later claimed that he misspoke on the issue and reiterated his confidence in US intelligence agencies.
- Haley said that she appreciated that Trump issued additional remarks, and said it was all part of his strategy to "disarm" global leaders with his candor.
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"I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia," Trump said. "I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be."
Haley says that she finally called the president and arranged a meeting after alleged efforts by Former Chief of Staff John Kelly to stall her request. She says that she confronted Trump and told him that his siding with Putin made her "very uncomfortable.""I told the president what he said in the press conference made me very uncomfortable," she wrote. "The Russians aren't our friends. They will never be our friends. And [Trump] made it sound like we were beholden to them." Haley writes that Trump was taken aback by her blunt criticism of his meeting.
"The president was surprised," she wrote. "No one around him had characterized the press conference in that way."
She continued: "But I was always honest with the president, even when others around him weren't. And the truth was that the Russians did meddle in our elections. They were continuing to try and manipulate us. They sought strength by creating chaos in the world. We couldn't let our guard down, not for a second."Haley in her book also praised Trump for his willingness to "hear the bad news."
Trump later clarified his comments on the conference, reiterating that he has "full faith" in US intelligence agencies and claiming that he misspoke. Haley said that she appreciated that Trump issued additional remarks, and said it was all part of his strategy to "disarm" global leaders with his candor.
Despite Trump's clarifications, he has still refrained from criticizing Russia for its foreign election meddling and has denied that Russian interference in the 2016 election helped him get elected. Multiple intelligence agencies and former special counsel Robert Muller have concluded that there was Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Though Mueller's report said there was not enough evidence to show a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign.)Trump has also repeatedly attacked the US intelligence community, and reportedly disregards their briefs in an act described as "willful ignorance."