Trump Backtracks on U.S.-Russia Cyber Unit, Says It Can't Happen

‘The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen,’ U.S. president tweets.

Trump and Putin before the first working session of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 7, 2017.
Steffen Kugler/AP

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday backtracked on his push for a cybersecurity unit with Russia, tweeting that he did not think it could happen, only hours after promoting it following his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

"The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't," Trump said on Twitter. He then noted that an agreement with Russia for a ceasefire in Syria "can & did" happen.

Tweeting after his first meeting with Putin on Saturday, Trump said now was the time to work constructively with Moscow, pointing to a cease-fire deal in southwest Syria that came into effect on Sunday.

"Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded and safe," he said following their talks at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida immediately criticized the move on Twitter, saying Putin was not a trusted partner.

Partnering with Putin on a "Cyber Security Unit" is akin to partnering with (Syrian President Bashar) Assad on a "Chemical Weapons Unit," he wrote.