President Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki, Finland on Monday and did not hold Putin accountable for Russia’s role in interfering in the 2016 presidential election, despite the fact that the Department of Justice indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday. The indictment paperwork also indicated the exploitation of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 11-count indictment made a reference to a fake Twitter account, @BaltimoreIsWhr, set up by the Russians to invite people to join a “flash mob” and to post images using the hashtag “#BlacksAgainstHillary.”
The Black Lives Matter movement was particularly active in Baltimore following the police-related death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, which garnered international attention. In June 2015, Trump told a Republican luncheon in Baltimore that Black youth “have no spirit,” adding “they’ve just about never done more poorly.”
CNN reported in September that a Black Lives Matter Facebook post under a fake “Blacktivist” account that appeared in late 2015 or early 2016 was geographically targeted through the site’s ad system toward Baltimore, and Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown was killed by a police officer.
Sources said “the ad was meant to appear both as supporting Black Lives Matter but also could be seen as portraying the group as threatening to some residents of Baltimore and Ferguson,” according to the news network.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed to Congress that some 3,000 divisive ads were a part of Russia’s $100,000 political ad buy.
Putin denied having been involved in the U.S. election, and at the summit on Monday the president called the U.S. “foolish.”
“I hold both countries responsible,” Trump said. “I think that the United States has been foolish. I think that we’ve all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time, frankly, before I got to office.”
He also blamed the FBI.
“All I can do is ask the question — my people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be but I really want to see the server but, I have confidence in both parties.”
The hashtag #TrumpTreason began to trend on Twitter Monday.
In a tweet Saturday following news of the indictment, Trump placed blame on former President Barack Obama. (embed tweet)
The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration. Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2018
According to NPR, “One basic notion that is false is the idea the Obama administration took no action — it did.
“CIA Director John Brennan — privately warned their Russian counterparts not to persist with their active measures. Obama himself told Russian President Vladimir Putin not to interfere in the election.”