The White House was set to accuse Russia of the devastating cyberattack on the US government’s computer systems but was told at the last minute to stand down
White House officials were preparing to issue a statement Friday saying Russia was likely to blame for the devastating cyberattack that saw hackers seize control of hundreds of US government computer networks but was told to stand down at the last minute, the Associated Press reported.
According to a US government official briefed on the conversations, the statement would have described Russia as the “main actor” behind the cyberattack.
It would have mirrored a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday, who in an interview with Mark Levin said that “we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.”
Instead, the White House statement was canceled, and Trump broke his silence on the issue. Without citing any evidence, Trump in a tweet claimed that China, not Russia, was likely behind the cyberattack.
“The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control,” Trump tweeted. He also claimed the media are “petrified” of “discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!).”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Throughout his presidency, Trump has downplayed or sought to shift blame from Russia in response to hostile actions against the US.
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