Sarah Sanders simply refuses to say 'Russia' when quizzed on UK poisoning

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointedly avoided saying the word “Russia” on Monday when very specifically questioned about that country’s culpability in the poisoning last week of a former Russian spy with a deadly nerve agent.

British officials have determined that Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were poisoned with a nerve agent developed in Russia. British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Monday that it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the attack. “We must now stand ready to take extensive measures,” May said.

But when asked ― three times ― at a White House press briefing about Russia’s link to the poisoning or any possible repercussions for the country from the U.S., Sanders carefully did not say “Russia” — or otherwise address who may have been responsible for the attack. She characterized it as an “indiscriminate” attack, although British authorities have concluded that Skripal was clearly targeted. 

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on Octobr 30, 2017. US President Donald Trump has 'no plan or intention' to change special counsel probing possible collusion in Russia's effort to sway the 2016 presidential elections.The assurance came hours after special counsel Robert Mueller announced indictments against three Trump campaign aides, including former chairman Paul Manafort.'The president said last week and I said several times before, there is no intention or plan to make any changes in regards to the special counsel,' White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered the press briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, on Monday, June 5, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a White House daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House June 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Huckabee Sanders stood in for Press Secretary Sean Spicer to host the daily press briefing. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders (L), White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (C) and White House chief of staff John Kelly (R) look on after US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation calling for a national day of prayer on September 3 for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
THE VIEW - In their first joint interview since the 2016 presidential election, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her father, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will appear on ABC's 'The View,' live WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, MIKE HUCKABEE
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (L) and Thomas Homan, acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), hoold a briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (L-R) holds the door for Press Secretary Sean Spicer and White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster to speak in the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S., May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry arrives to take the podium from Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the press briefing at the White House in WQashington, DC, on June 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
(l-r), White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders looks on, while Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, delivered the press briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, on Monday, June 5, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, May 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 9: White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to reporters outside the West Wing after President Donald J. Trump terminated FBI Director James Comey, at the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 09, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Reporters and members of the media as questions as Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaks during press briefing on May 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sanders fielded questions about President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 19: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) waits to speak as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders introduces him during a White House briefing October 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. Kelly spoke about the process of the military notifying family members of a death, his own son's death Afghanistan, and the controversy surrounding the news of U.S. President Trump's phone calls to Gold Star families. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Sarah H. Sanders takes questions during a briefing at the White House October 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers questions during a briefing at the White House October 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sanders responded to a number of questions related to the recent shooting in Las Vegas, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, takes questions during a White House press briefing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017. President�Donald Trump�and his spokeswoman on Friday repeatedly declined to clarify the cryptic remark�he made while posing for photos with military leaders that the gathering might represent 'the calm before the storm.' Photographer: Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images
White House Press Secretary Sarah H. Sanders (L) and Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert talk outside the White House September 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - In their first joint interview since the 2016 presidential election, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her father, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will appear on ABC's 'The View,' live WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, MIKE HUCKABEE, SUNNY HOSTIN, JEDEDIAH BILA
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on Octobr 30, 2017. US President Donald Trump has 'no plan or intention' to change special counsel probing possible collusion in Russia's effort to sway the 2016 presidential elections.The assurance came hours after special counsel Robert Mueller announced indictments against three Trump campaign aides, including former chairman Paul Manafort.'The president said last week and I said several times before, there is no intention or plan to make any changes in regards to the special counsel,' White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers reporters' questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his ex-business partner Rick Gates turned themselves in to federal authorities Monday in relation to the special counsel's investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers reporters' questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his ex-business partner Rick Gates turned themselves in to federal authorities Monday in relation to the special counsel's investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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“We’ve been monitoring the incident closely, take it very seriously,” Sanders said. “The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against U.K. citizens on U.K. soil is an outrage. The attack was reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible. We offer the fullest condemnation.”

“So you’re not saying that Russia was behind this?” a reporter asked.

“Right now, we are standing with our U.K. ally,” Sanders said again. “I think they’re still working through even some of the details of that.”

Pressed a third time, an annoyed Sanders answered, “Like I just said, we stand with our ally and we certainly fully support them and are ready if we can be of any assistance.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry has dismissed the U.K.’s accusations about Skripal’s poisoning as a “circus show.”

Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was fatally poisoned in London in 2006 with radioactive polonium-210, which it’s believed he drank in a cup of tea. A British investigation concluded that his assassination was likely approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. 

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UK investigates nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal
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UK investigates nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Forensic police officers wearing hazmat suits prepare to examine a vehicle believed to belong to Sergei Skripal on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Police investigations continue into the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, who was found ill in a Salisbury park with his daughter on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in a critical condition in hospital. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
A picture shows the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found in critical condition sparking a major incident on March 4 at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 after the tent became detached. British detectives on March 8 scrambled to find the source of the nerve agent used in the 'brazen and reckless' attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is unconscious in a critical but stable condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre on Sunday. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the emergency services in green biohazard encapsulated suits afix the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found on March 4 in critical condition at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 after the tent became detached. British detectives on March 8 scrambled to find the source of the nerve agent used in the 'brazen and reckless' attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is unconscious in a critical but stable condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre on Sunday. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found in critical condition sparking a major incident on March 4 at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 after the tent became detached. British detectives on March 8 scrambled to find the source of the nerve agent used in the 'brazen and reckless' attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is unconscious in a critical but stable condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre on Sunday. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Members of the emergency services in green biohazard encapsulated suits work to afix the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found on March 4 in critical condition at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 after the tent became detached. British detectives on March 8 scrambled to find the source of the nerve agent used in the 'brazen and reckless' attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is unconscious in a critical but stable condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre on Sunday. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Members of the fire brigade in green biohazard encapsulated suits work to re-attach the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found in critical condition sparking a major incident on March 4 at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 after the tent became detached. British detectives on March 8 scrambled to find the source of the nerve agent used in the 'brazen and reckless' attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is unconscious in a critical but stable condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre on Sunday. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the fire brigade get suited in green biohazard encapsulated suits to work to re-attach the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found in critical condition sparking a major incident on March 4 at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 after the tent became detached. British detectives on March 8 scrambled to find the source of the nerve agent used in the 'brazen and reckless' attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is unconscious in a critical but stable condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre on Sunday. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the fire brigade are helped out of their green biohazard encapsulated suits by colleagues in white protective coveralls after an operation to re-attach the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found in critical condition sparking a major incident on March 4 at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 after the tent became detached. British detectives on March 8 scrambled to find the source of the nerve agent used in the 'brazen and reckless' attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is unconscious in a critical but stable condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre on Sunday. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Police officers search the home of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury who was found critically ill on a bench with his daughter on March 4 and were taken to hospital sparking a major incident on March 8, 2018 in Wiltshire, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Police officers search the home of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury who was found critically ill on a bench with his daughter on March 4 and were taken to hospital sparking a major incident on March 8, 2018 in Wiltshire, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
A police officer guards a cordon on a residential street in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 where police forensic tents are errected and police continue to work in connection with the major incident which started at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury on March 4. British detectives on March 8 scrambled to find the source of the nerve agent used in the 'brazen and reckless' attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is unconscious in a critical but stable condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre on Sunday. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Forensic police officers wearing hazmat suits examine a vehicle believed to belong to Sergei Skripal on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Police investigations continue into the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, who was found ill in a Salisbury park with his daughter on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition in hospital. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Police stand guard at the home of Sergei Skripal on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Police investigations continue into the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, who was found ill in a Salisbury park with his daughter on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in a critical condition in hospital. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Police stand guard at Zizzil restaurant reported to have been visited by Sergei Skripal before he colapsed due to poisoning on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Police investigations continue into the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, who was found ill in a Salisbury park with his daughter on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in a critical condition in hospital. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Forensic police officers wearing hazmat suits examine a vehicle believed to belong to Sergei Skripal on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Police investigations continue into the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, who was found ill in a Salisbury park with his daughter on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition in hospital. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Forensic police officers wearing hazmat suits examine a vehicle believed to belong to Sergei Skripal on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Police investigations continue into the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, who was found ill in a Salisbury park with his daughter on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition in hospital. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Forensic police officers wearing hazmat suits prepare to examine a vehicle believed to belong to Sergei Skripal on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Police investigations continue into the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, who was found ill in a Salisbury park with his daughter on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition in hospital. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Forensic police officers wearing hazmat suits examine a vehicle believed to belong to Sergei Skripal on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Police investigations continue into the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, who was found ill in a Salisbury park with his daughter on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition in hospital. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past a cordoned-off branch of the Italian chain restaurant Zizzi close to The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 8, 2018 which was closed in connection to the ongoing major incident sparked after a man and a woman were found critically ill on a bench at the shopping centre on March 4 after being apparently poisoned with what was later identified as a nerve agent sparking a major incident. Britain vowed on March 8 to act 'without hesitation' if a state is found responsible for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent, as police said 21 people in total had received medical treatment following the incident. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the attack on Sunday in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Police officers search ahead of the visit by Home Secretary Amber Rudd to the scene at the Maltings shopping centre in where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found critically ill after exposure to a nerve agent on March 4 and were taken to hospital sparking a major incident, in Salisbury on March 9, 2018 in Wiltshire, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being exposed to an 'unknown substance'. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: A police officer walks past a forensics tent over the grave of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal's wife Lyudmila in London Road cemetery, on March 9, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being exposed to an 'unknown substance'. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: A general view of a forensics tent over the grave of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal's son Alexander in London Road cemetery, on March 9, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being exposed to an 'unknown substance'. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Police officers dress in protective suits and breathing apparatus in London Road cemetery as they continue investigations into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal who was found critically ill on a bench in Salisbury with his daughter sparking a major incident on March 10, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Police officers dress in protective suits and breathing apparatus in London Road cemetery as they continue investigations into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal who was found critically ill on a bench in Salisbury with his daughter sparking a major incident on March 10, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
British police officers stand on duty at a cordon leading to the home of Russian spy Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018. British soldiers were deployed on Friday to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: A police officer stands at a cordon at the scene connected to the Sergei Skripal nerve agent attack on March 10, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Police tape surrounds a forensics tent covering the memorial stone to Alexander Skripal, inside the entrance of the London Road Cemetery in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, where the wife and son of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal are buried. British soldiers were deployed on Friday to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A member of the emergency services wearing a protective suit works at the London Road Cemetery in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, where the wife and son of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal are buried. British soldiers were deployed on Friday to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Personnel in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment work at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Personnel in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment cover an ambulance with a tarpaulin at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. The Counter Terrorism Policing Network requested assistance from the military to remove a number of vehicles and objects from Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel in protective coveralls stand by as personnel cover ambulances in tarpaulins at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the emergency services in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment cover ambulances with tarpaulins at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Personnel in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment cover an ambulance with a tarpaulin at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. The Counter Terrorism Policing Network requested assistance from the military to remove a number of vehicles and objects from Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel in protective coveralls stand by as personnel cover ambulances in tarpaulins at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the emergency services in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment cover ambulances with tarpaulins and prepare to load them onto military low-loader vehicles at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the emergency services in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment load a covered ambulance onto a military low-loader vehicle at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Military personnel wearing protective suits inspect a bin after an ambulance is removed from Salisbury ambulance station as they continue investigations into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 10, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Military personnel wearing protective suits cover two ambulances with tarpaulin as they prepare to remove them from Salisbury ambulance station as they continue investigations into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 10, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Personnel in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment cover an ambulance with a tarpaulin to be taken away by military personnel at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. The Counter Terrorism Policing Network requested assistance from the military to remove a number of vehicles and objects from Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Military personnel wearing protective suits cover a second ambulance after removing another from Salisbury ambulance station as they continue investigations into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 10, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Personnel in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment work at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack. British soldiers were deployed on March 9 to help a counter-terrorism investigation into a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as speculation mounted over how London could retaliate if the Russian state is found to be responsible. Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 attack in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Soldiers wearing hazmat suits seal a waste container at an ambulance depot on March 10, 2018 in Salisbury, England. The ambulance is believed to have carried former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal to hospital, after he and his daughter Yulia fell ill in Salisbury city centre on March 4. Both Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in a critical condition due to the effects of an undisclosed nerve agent. The military have been called in to assist police in their investigation and containment of the major incident. Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy swap between the US and Russia in 2010. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
Police officers stand in front of a cordon in front of a branch of the chain Italian restaurant Zizzi in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A pedestrian passes in front of a police cordon in front of a branch of the chain Italian restaurant Zizzi in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Police officers stand outside Zizzi restaurant as it remains closed as investigations continue into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 11, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: A police officer stands outside The Mill as it remains closed as investigations continue into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 11, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
A police officer stands at a police cordon at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer stands in front of The Mill pub in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. Traces of a nerve agent used in the suspected attempted murder of a Russian ex-spy have been found in a pub and a restaurant he visited, England's chief medical officer said on March 11. Sally Davies said up to 500 people who had visited The Mill pub and the Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury, southwest England, needed to wash their clothes and belongings as a precaution. The March 4 attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is being treated by detectives as attempted murder. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel, some in protective coveralls, carry equipment in a staging area at a cordon set up behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel, some in protective coveralls, talk at a staging area at a cordon set up behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A military fork-lift vehicle is driven into an area cordoned off behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A military low-loader vehicle is driven into an area cordoned off behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel wearing protective coveralls look at a map while others load a car onto a military vehicle in a cordoned off area behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel wearing protective coveralls look at a map while others load a car onto a military vehicle in a cordoned off area behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel wearing protective coveralls use a military fork-lift to lift a car onto a low-loader military vehicle in a cordoned off area behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel wearing protective coveralls use a military fork-lift to lift a car onto a low-loader military vehicle in a cordoned off area behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military personnel in protective coveralls handle equipment during an operation in a cordoned off area behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018, as investigations and operations continue in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were apparently poisoned in a nerve agent attack a week ago. British police hunting the perpetrators behind a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy are examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, London said after a meeting of the UK's national emergencies committee. Counter-terror police had identified more than 240 witnesses, the Home Office interior ministry said after a meeting of the committee known as COBRA, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Military personnel were assisting police for a third day after being called in to remove vehicles and items. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
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The White House’s extreme reluctance to criticize Russia — ever — has raised increasing concerns, particularly as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates possible collusion by Donald Trump’s campaign in the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Early this month, Putin boasted of his nation’s nuclear capabilities to strike anywhere in the world. A simulated video presented by Putin appeared to depict next-generation nuclear missiles striking Florida. Yet Trump has yet to respond and chose instead to attack actor Alec Baldwin on Twitter the following day.

Former CIA director John Brennan said at the time that he was rattled by Trump’s apparent lack of concern about the video.

“When I hear what Vladimir Putin was saying about the nuclear capabilities he has [and] then the president of the United States is tweeting about Alec Baldwin ... I mean, where is your sense of priorities?” Brennan said on MSNBC. “I think a lot of Americans are looking at what’s happening with a sense of: This is surreal.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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