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Trump’s cybersecurity task force with Russia ridiculed by two Republican senators

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump talk during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump talk during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press via TNS

The United State and Russia have agreed to create a cybersecurity task force to ensure that “election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded,” President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning.

Trump spoke in a series of tweets the morning after returning from a world leaders’ summit in Germany. The president met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in Germany.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was among critics of the task force on Twitter and Sunday morning news shows.

“It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Another Senate Republican, Marco Rubio of Florida, said on Twitter that “partnering with Putin on a ‘Cyber Security Unit' is akin to partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit.’ ”

Rubio was referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.

Trump said Sunday that “it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia.” But he is still avoiding the question of whether he accepts Putin’s denial that Russia was responsible for meddling in the 2016 election.

Trump said that Putin “vehemently denied” the conclusions of American intelligence agencies that Russian hackers and propagandists tried to sway the election in Trump’s favor. But Trump would not say whether he believed Putin, tweeting only that he’s “already given my opinion.”

Trump has said he believes that Russia probably hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton staffers, but that other countries were likely involved as well.

This story includes information from The Associated Press.

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