There have been a few times that Trump did actually speak about Russian attempts at interference as a problem that needed to be addressed. Using the index of his public comments at Factba.se, we’ve pulled out all of those times, in interviews, speeches or on Twitter, when Trump has criticized Russia’s activity or called for the United States to address Russian interference.
There are nine such instances, including three in which Trump talks broadly about Russian threats. In no case did Trump not soften his language by insisting that it was unclear that Russia was the party interfering with the election or by saying that the electoral process should be protected from Russia “or anybody else.” At no point in time did he suggest that additional efforts were needed to hold Russia accountable for its actions.
The White House has yet to implement new sanctions mandated by Congress.
May 11, 2017. Interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.
“I’ll tell you this. If Russia or anybody else is trying to interfere with our elections, I think it’s a horrible thing, and I want to get to the bottom of it, and I want to make sure it will never ever happen.”
This was the interview in which Trump said he had fired FBI Director James B. Comey because of “this Russia thing.”
May 13. Interview with Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro. Trump addressed investigations into Russian interference.
“I’d like it to move fast, if possible. But I’ll tell you what I really want. … There is no collusion. We had nothing to do with Russia, and everything else, but there is a question. Was it Russia … who was it that went in and tried to hack?”“I mean [Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and his brother] are the ones they should be checking. But with all of that being said, what I want — and I think it’s very important … I want to get to the bottom, if Russia or anybody else is trying to tamper or play with our election. To me that is very important.”
He later added:
“Hopefully they announce the result quickly. I’d like to see it quick, but … I want to see it done properly. I don’t want to be in a position where something took place having to do with Russia — or any other country or any other person, who knows — but I don’t want to be in a position where it’s not done correctly. So let them do it correctly. Let them take their time.”
July 6. News conference in Poland. Trump mentions Russian geopolitical meddling.
“We’re working with Poland in response to Russia’s actions and destabilizing behavior. And we’re grateful for the example Poland has set for every member of the NATO alliance by being one of the few nations that actually meets its financial obligations.”
Later, addressing the question of Russian interference in the U.S. election specifically, Trump said, “Well, I think it was Russia. And I think it could have been other people in other countries. Could have been a lot of people interfered.”
July 12. Speaking to the news media on Air Force One.
“I asked [Russian President Vladimir Putin], were you involved? He said, very strongly — said to him a second time — totally different — were you involved? Because we can’t let that happen. And I mean, whether it’s Russia or anybody else, we can’t let there be even a scintilla of doubt when it comes to an election. I mean, I’m very strong on that. And I’m not saying it wasn’t Russia. What I’m saying is that we have to protect ourselves no matter who it is.”“You know, China is very good at this. I hate to say it: North Korea is very good at this. Look what they did to Sony Studios. They were the ones that did the whole deal to Sony. You know, we’re dealing with highly sophisticated people. So, China is very good. You have many countries. And you have many individuals that are very good at this.”“But we can’t have — and I did say, we can’t have a scintilla of doubt as our elections and going forward.”
“We have very heavy sanctions on Russia right now. I would not and have never even thought about taking them off. Somebody said Donald Trump wants to — I don’t want to take them off. … I would never take the sanctions off until something is worked out to our satisfaction and everybody’s satisfaction in Syria and in Ukraine.”
Oct. 6. Interview with Forbes.
“Hopefully [reports on interference] will come out soon, so if there are suggestions, we can do those suggestions prior to the ’18 election. But it has been taking so long, all of the various studies and reports, but I would like to see what everybody comes up with, so that we can, if there’s something to do with respect to the ’18 elections, which are right around the corner, we’ll have time to do it. Don’t forget, we have those elections now in about a year. There’s not that much time. So I would like to see that, because I don’t want Russia messing with our elections, nor do I want anybody or any other country messing with our elections, that’s for sure.”
Oct. 11. Interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity.
“We can’t let anybody play around with our voters in the voter system. I have to tell you this — Russia was an excuse used by the Democrats when they lost the election. They lost the election. And they sat in a room and they said, wow, we look bad. The morning after. It’s been written about in various books or e-books.”
Jan. 11, 2018. Interview with the Wall Street Journal.
“We’re going to be very careful. We’re going to be very, very careful about Russia — and about anybody else, by the way. … We are absolutely — at the appropriate time, and first of all, we’re working on different solutions. And as you know, the last election was not affected in terms of votes — and I think you do understand that everybody — even the Democrats agree to that — a lot of people don’t write it. But we are looking at all sorts of fail-safes, and we are going to make sure that no country, including Russia, can have anything to do with the result of the midterms or any other election, okay? That’s what our country is all about.”
Dec. 18. Speech on national security. In the excerpts that follow, Trump’s comments are about Russian activity broadly.
“We also face rival powers, Russia and China, that seek to challenge American influence, values and wealth. We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries but in a manner that always protects our national interest. … [W]hile we seek such opportunities of cooperation, we will stand up for ourselves, and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before.”
Jan. 30, 2018. State of the Union address.
“Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.”
This article will be updated if needed.