'I just don't think we've announced it': Giuliani may have let something slip about Trump's response to Russian hacking

Natasha Bertrand (nbertrand@businessinsider.com)

WARSAW, Poland — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani hinted Thursday that the Trump administration has "taken action" against those responsible for cyber espionage and hacking campaigns, but hasn't publicly announced it yet.

Giuliani, a top surrogate for President Donald Trump's campaign who has been spotted at the White House in recent months, defended the administration Thursday when confronted at an Atlantic Council forum in Warsaw about the White House's perceived disinterest in punishing Moscow for its election meddling.

"The one place where we haven't seen any action is against the fact that Russia has interfered in our democracy in the most fundamental way," said Christine Wormuth, the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under President Barack Obama. "And it is July, and there has been no action taken to push back on that, and that is something that's concerning to me."

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Giuliani, somewhat cryptically, pointed to Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement in a recent interview with filmmaker Oliver Stone that "of course one never knows" who is behind a hack and why. He hinted, however, that the administration has already begun pushing back against the perpetrators of more recent cyberattacks.

"I do think we have taken action," he said. "I just don't think we've announced it."

US sources told Bloomberg this week that they had zeroed in on Russia as the primary suspect behind the most recent attacks on at least a dozen US nuclear power sites, including one at Kansas' Wolf Creek nuclear facility. Wormuth noted that she had seen reports that the cyberattacks "came from Russia," but didn't respond to Giuliani's comment about the administration's efforts to combat them.

It was unclear whether Giuliani, whose son works in the Trump administration's Office of Public Liaison, was just speculating. It was also unclear who the administration would have "taken action" against if not Russia. But it wouldn't be the first time that Giuliani let something slip in a public setting about the inner workings of the campaign or the White House.

As the administration was scrambling to implement its controversial travel ban in January — and trying to convince the courts blocking it that the vetting order did not constitute a religious test — Giuliani told Fox News that he helped draft the executive order after Trump called him and asked how to "legally" do a "Muslim ban."

"When he first announced it, he said 'Muslim ban,'" Giuliani, who served as the vice chairman of Trump's transition team, said then. "He called me up. He said 'put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.'"

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