‘Nobody thinks Russia had impact on election’ – US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin
Whatever Russia did during the presidential campaign in the US last year, it had no impact on the outcome, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. The official is in charge of implementing sanctions on Russia for alleged election meddling.
In an interview on CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday, the treasury secretary commented on President Trump’s remarks, in which he said he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin was sincere in denying the allegations of meddling in the 2016 election. Mnuchin argued that the US public was “ready to move on” from the issue.
“Let me be clear, nobody thinks this has had any impact on the election. So whatever occurred, there was no impact,” he said. “So I think the American public is ready to move on to more important issues: tax reform and foreign policy and national security.”
Face the Nation host John Dickerson responded that on “the national security front, people think this is an enemy. We should behave with them as such.” And then he moved on with the interview.
Earlier, Trump made another one of his famous flip-flops over the allegations. First he said he believes that when Putin told him Russia had not interfered in the election, the Russian leader “meant it.” Hours later, he expressed his trust in the US intelligence community, which said it was certain that Moscow had a hand in the election.
Russia adamantly denies the allegations and believes it is being used as a scapegoat by Democrats to explain Hillary Clinton’s surprise loss to Trump. The narrative is currently prominent in the US media and was cited by US lawmakers as the reason for imposing additional sanctions on Russia. This latest round sparked outrage in some European countries, which said the US was blatantly targeting Russian projects to push Russian companies out of the European market.
Mnuchin, the person charged with implementing the restrictions, stressed that his department was “absolutely carrying out the sanctions.” At the same time, he noted that the US should stop focusing solely on restrictions against Russia, and “move on” to more pressing issues, such as North Korea and Syria, which particularly require Washington “to get along” with Moscow. He also refrained from commenting on the intelligence related to the alleged Russia meddling that he had being briefed on as part of the Trump administration.