President Trump has identified election security officials who handled certain questions about Ukraine before the summit, a White House official told CNN.
The White House official, who asked not to be named, said the questions included some that had been posed and others not, and that Mr. Trump has determined a person who could answer them was best suited to that job. The process was designed to be “safe and secure,” the official said.
“We believe a responsible president who has access to the world’s best information can make informed decisions about whether to attend a meeting,” the official said. “The same approach we’re taking in recognizing the expertise and fairness of the nonpartisan U.S. intelligence community was taken in our evaluation of Ukrainian officials’ responses.”
After the summit, the White House asked CrowdStrike to conduct an analysis of the hackers in Ukraine. They concluded the government of Ukraine is controlled by the Kremlin, according to a July report by The Washington Post and other news organizations, which said the report was provided to the White House by CrowdStrike.
Some security experts said the White House might be placing more reliance on CrowdStrike than it should, given the U.S. intelligence community’s extensive research about Ukrainian cyberattacks on the United States. CrowdStrike declined to comment on the attribution of an attack to Moscow.
CrowdStrike had previously run a private intelligence service to respond to attacks, including the famous attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014. Its security, however, had suffered breaches in 2013 and 2014.
The White House sought CrowdStrike’s review after the June 8 meeting in Helsinki between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, where they held a news conference in which Mr. Trump cast doubt on the American intelligence community’s belief that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Mr. Trump went on to meet in July with Ukrainian leaders, who reported additional cyberattacks in June. The State Department told Reuters it was an attempt to disrupt the group’s democratic exercise.
After the meeting, Mr. Trump said at a press conference that he did not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of the allegations. “He says he didn’t meddle. I don’t see any reason why he would,” Mr. Trump said at the news conference in Helsinki.
Trump has also met Russian and Ukrainian officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, in Brussels, Austria and Warsaw, Poland, and has been told by those officials that Russia attacked Ukraine, according to the White House.
Mr. Trump also told Mr. Putin he wanted Ukraine to have a strong economy and a large military.