Members of President Donald Trump‘s administration are afraid to admit that Russia interfered in the 2016 election—despite the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community—for fear of upsetting the president, according to a new report.
The Washington Post reports that Trump became “agitated” earlier this year when high-level officials, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, pleaded with Trump to publicly accept the findings of the intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Since then, Trump has been less-than-coy about accepting the findings, despite overwhelming evidence. Trump has never called for a cabinet meeting to discuss Russian interference and earlier this year PolitiFact named Trump’s denial of Russia’s efforts the 2017 “Lie of the Year.”
One former “high-ranking” Trump official told the Post that there is an “unspoken” rule not to discuss Russia’s interference because it would bring validity to the notion, which Trump would see as an “affront.”
But in early January, the nation’s top intelligence officials spoke with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence about their findings and presented the two with evidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “specific instructions” for Russia to interfere with the election.
“The president obviously feels . . . that the idea that he’s been put into office by Vladimir Putin is pretty insulting,” an official told the news outlet.
As Trump continues to call the interference “made up,” and a “hoax,” Russia feels its efforts to sow discord and influence the election has been a success, according to the Post.
In a news conference, Putin said that the collusion discussion has “inflicted damage to the domestic political situation.”
You can the entire report by the Washington Post here.