Why the White House show of force on Russian interference didn't work

(CNN)On Thursday, the White House made a show of force. National security adviser John Bolton, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen all appeared in the White House briefing room to make one thing very clear: Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election and they are already working to do so again in 2018.

"Russia attempted to interfere in the last election and continues to engage in malign operations to this very day," Wray said.
"Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs," Nielsen said.
    "We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States," Coats said.
    Russia's active interference campaign in 2016 -- a fact that the intelligence committee unanimously concluded last year -- has triggered a heightened awareness and vigilance across the US government for foreign threats to our democracy. Case closed!
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    Except, well, not exactly. Because there's one person in the White House who has publicly disagreed with the sentiments offered on Thursday by Nielsen, Wray, Coats and others. And his name is President Donald Trump.
    Since the revelations of Russia's attempts to interfere in the election surfaced in the summer of 2016, Trump has publicly voiced his skepticism about not only the source of the efforts but whether they are real at all. He has speculated that a "400-pound" kid could be behind it. He has tweeted -- relentlessly -- about how special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is a "witch hunt" and a "total hoax."
    But, the coup de grace came earlier this month in Helsinki, Finland, when, standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin after a summit between the two men, Trump was asked directly whether Russia was to blame for the election meddling. "I hold both countries responsible," Trump said. "I think that the United States has been foolish. We've all been foolish. We're all to blame."