Donald Trump was pressed on Russia early and often during a news conference Wednesday, asserting that Russia will no longer hack American institutions but again not clearly saying whether he blames Russia for election-related cyberattacks.
At the hour-long event in New York, which featured an ethics lawyer outlining plans for his business, Trump first said he thinks Russia directed cyberattacks on Democratic Party targets, but later made his view less clear. He said the hacking "could be others" and repeatedly deflected attention to attacks by China and other foreign countries and institutions.
He contended that Russia will no longer hack the U.S. when he is president but did not answer questions about whether he will uphold Obama administration sanctions in response to suspected interference in the 2016 election. The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed an effort to influence the election in Trump's favor and briefed Trump about its allegations.
"He shouldn't have done it. I don't believe he'll be doing it anymore," Trump said Wednesday, referring to Putin.
Asked if he felt that accepting the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia directed the cyberattacks on Democratic Party institutions would hurt his relationship with Putin, he contended that having a good standing with Putin is not a bad thing.
"If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset not a liability. Because we have a horrible relationship with Russia," he said.