Mr. Trump also has invited Mr. Putin to join a Group of 7 summit in Washington in September, dropping past American insistence that Russia must first reverse its annexation of Crimea and its continuing, low-level war in eastern Ukraine.
The president appears to be giving no ground on the bounty story; on Saturday morning, he tweeted anew that the story was a “phony hit job by the @nytimes. They had no source, they made it up. FAKE NEWS!”
So far the White House has declined to declassify the section of a Presidential Daily Brief from February that described the evidence, or to make public a recently-commissioned national intelligence estimate about the evidence.
Mr. Trump has never before taken credit for ordering a cyberattack, even one meant more as a public signal than a long-lasting, destructive strike. Just a few days ago, the United States was warning that Russians were engaged in ransomware attacks, suggesting that the 2018 attack may have been briefly effective, but did not establish a long-term deterrent.
The president was not asked about other, more significant actions that American cyberforces have taken in Russia, including planting malware in its power grid to remind the Russians that if they turned off the lights in American cities, America was ready to retaliate in kind. (When The New York Times revealed that operation, Mr. Trump called it a “virtual act of treason,” but went on to allege that the story was not true.)
Many of Mr. Trump’s aides, most rece