During a pre-taped interview with CNN, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said "everybody knows" Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Haley's comment directly contradicts President Trump's Thursday remark insisting that "nobody really knows for sure" if Russia meddled in the election. Haley further claimed that Russia is guilty of interfering in not just U.S. elections, but also elections around the world.
"Everybody knows that they're not just meddling in the United States' election," she said. "They're doing this across multiple continents, and they're doing this in a way that they're trying to cause chaos within the countries. And it's not just going to be us saying this. I think you're going to hear other leaders come out and say, cut it out, we're not going to put up with it."
On Thursday, the president suggested that he believes the hacking activity during the 2016 election "very well could be Russia" but also that "it could very well have been other countries," adding that he believes "a lot of people interfere."
President Trump had his first meeting with President Putin on Friday during the G-20 Summit. According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the two men had a “robust and lengthy” discussion in which Trump confronted the Russian leader about his country's possible election interference. Putin reportedly denied there being any truth to the allegations of election tampering, which, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov who was present at the meeting, Trump accepted; in a press conference on Saturday, Putin stated that he believed Trump had indeed accepted his denials of interference but that it would be best to ask the U.S. president directly.
Following Putin's press conference, Trump faced criticism for lack of transparency regarding his conversation with the Russian leader. "Putin said this at a press conference he's holding — like most world leaders are," NBC News' Brad Jaffy tweeted, referring to Putin's suggestion that the press ask Trump about the meeting. "Trump isn't holding one. If he were — the press would ask him."
In late June, after months of dismissing the possibility of Russian hacking during last year's election, Trump seemed to accept that Russia did, in fact, interfere with the election process following a bombshell Washington Post report covering the Obama administration's struggle to stop and punish Russia's efforts. "Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia," tweeted Trump in June. "Did nothing about it. WHY?"
Days later he took to Twitter again to suggest that instead of focusing on his possible collusion with Russian interference, the media should shift its attention to his predecessor. "The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling," he tweeted again.
So far, the CIA, FBI, NSA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.