Tags: Trump Administration | donald rumsfeld | russia | meddling | no surprise

Donald Rumsfeld: 'No Surprise' If Russians Meddled in 2016 Election

("Today")

By    |   Thursday, 25 May 2017 08:14 AM

It would come as "no surprise" that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, as "we know they do" that, but there is still a question about whether it will turn out to be something important, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday.

"We know that other countries have an inquiry and make mischief, attempt to do things in their interest," Rumsfeld told NBC's "Today" show anchors Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.

"That's understandable and no surprise. It seems to me the question I can't figure out is if there's any there."

He continued that he "certainly" does not know all the facts in the case and whether President Donald Trump's complaint of a "witch hunt" are valid. However, he continued, "it is proper to investigate things and take a good look and try to understand more than you know, but whether this is something that will prove to be important, I just have no idea."

Rumsfeld also on Thursday discussed the criticism about sensitive leaks from U.S. officials, including the condemnation from Great Britain over leaks on the Manchester terror attack made to the U.S. press.

British police said they have have temporarily stopped sharing information with the United States about Monday's suicide bombing following an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, a counter-terrorism source told Reuters. The hold on information will be in effect until assurances are made that no more leaks will happen.

"I don't know precisely what the U.K. is thinking about all of this, but obviously intelligence is not to be shared outside of close allies," said Rumsfeld.

"On the other hand, the president makes decisions all the time and has the ability to declassify information. And I think it is just a matter of sorting through what is taking place."

However, NATO partners do share a great deal of intelligence, said Rumsfeld, a former ambassador to NATO, and "is important that it be handled carefully."

Rumsfeld also discussed reports that claim Trump shared sensitive information with Russia and also with the president of the Philippines, saying that there are times some information should be shared and times it should not.

"Where it is as a deterrent, you consciously want to let people know what your capabilities are," said Rumsfeld. "Most countries don't have the ability to know where our nuclear subs are, or aircraft carriers are, and what we do on occasion is to purposely let people know that we've deployed capabilities in certain parts of the world so they will be careful."

Rumsfeld also praised Trump's decision on his cabinet and advisers, saying it is the chief executive's most important task to select good people.

"I look at his Supreme Court nominee, his vice president, his secretary of state, his secretary of defense, I think his national security team is really first rate," said Rumsfeld. "I've been involved with some cabinets over the years, and I would rank this one pretty high."

It is also important for a chief executive to know when they've made a mistake on personnel and fix the problem, as that person will not get better with time, said Rumsfeld, citing Trump's decision on former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

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It would come as "no surprise" that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, as "we know they do" that, but there is still a question about whether it will turn out to be something important, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday.
donald rumsfeld, russia, meddling, no surprise
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2017-14-25
Thursday, 25 May 2017 08:14 AM
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