Washington Post — By Griff Witte and Michael Birnbaum February 18 at 12:46 AM
MUNICH — U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster acknowledged Saturday that evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is “incontrovertible” but said Moscow’s campaign to divide the West through subterfuge was failing.
“It’s just not working,” he said.
The comments, a day after the Justice Department indicted 13 Russians on charges of interference in the election that catapulted Donald Trump to the White House, follow months of efforts by the president to cast doubt on assertions of Moscow’s interference.
In a late-night tweet Saturday, President Trump hit out at McMaster, saying he “forgot” to mention that the Russians had not impacted the results of the election and that there had been no collusion with his campaign. Both are frequent Trump talking points that have not been substantiated by intelligence agency conclusions or investigators.
McMaster’s comments came as he used a high-profile address at a global security conference to try to rally Western allies against common enemies, offering an olive branch to U.S. partners that have often felt battered and neglected in the age of Trump.
The United States, McMaster said, is committed to working with Europe to combat nuclear proliferation, choke off funds for terrorist groups and thwart Russian ambitions.
But the appeal to solidarity could not hide the deep fissures among Western allies. Examples of those divisions abounded Saturday. On the second day of a conference dedicated to averting conflict, speeches by European leaders reflected the myriad strains afflicting decades-old alliances, including mistrust between Europe and the United States, anxiety over Britain’s looming exit from the European Union, and a growing chasm between the continent’s east and west.
Most glaring was the gap between the United States and its European allies. A day after Germany’s defense minister slammed the United States for cutting funds for diplomacy and other instruments of soft power, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel amplified the criticism, suggesting that the United States had abandoned core values.
The United States, Gabriel said, had for decades been Germany’s protector and inspiration as it emerged from the rubble of the World War II and embraced democracy, multilateralism, the rule of law and free trade.
But Trump, Gabriel implied, had thrown the relationship into doubt.
“We are no longer sure whether we recognize our America,” he said.
Link to Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/mcmaster-says-evidence-of-russian-meddling-is-now-really-incontrovertible-as-he-woos-european-allies/2018/02/17/4a27f560-10e8-11e8-a68c-e9374188170e_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-world%3Ahomepage%2Fcard&utm_term=.30b5d3b50053