Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Photograph:( Reuters )
The Washington Post reports that during his interview Trump was asked if he had launched a cyberattack. He replied, 'Correct.'
United States President Donald Trump has, for the first time, confirmed the US conducted a covert cyberattack in 2018 against Russia's Internet Research Agency.
Trump gave the confirmation during an interview conducted by the Washington Post's Marc A Thiessen.
The said agency is a troll farm blamed by the US for helping to facilitate interference both in the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterms.
The Washington Post reports that during his interview Trump was asked if he had launched a cyberattack. He replied, "Correct."
Trump said then president Barack Obama in 2016 "knew before the election that Russia was playing around. Or, he was told. Whether or not it was so or not, who knows? And he said nothing. And the reason he said nothing was that he didn't want to touch it because he thought (Hillary Clinton) was winning because he read phony polls. So, he thought she was going to win. And we had the silent majority that said, 'No, we like Trump.' "
Trump said that unlike his predecessor, he acted on intelligence the US had about Russia's election interference by launching the cyberattack. He said the cyberattack was part of a broader policy to confront Russia.
The Washington Post had previously also -- in October 2018 -- reported there was a cyberattack. This is, however, the first official confirmation from Trump.
Trump also appeared to confirm that the US had conducted such a cyberattack against a Russian entity during the 2018 midterm elections in a June 2019 Fox News interview.
CNN also reported in October 2018 that the US military's Cyber Command had begun targetting Russian operatives believed to be attempting to influence the 2018 midterm elections as part of a broad effort in coordination with several government agencies.
Obama in December 2016 announced sanctions against Russia and expelled some Russian diplomats in retaliation for its interference in the US presidential election.