Watch: Sarah Sanders Insists Trump Did Not Say 'No' About Russian Meddling in Fiery Exchange

President Donald Trump was politely shooing reporters out of his Cabinet meeting Wednesday rather than replying to a reporter’s question over whether Russia continued to meddle in the United States's election system, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sanders told reporters during Wednesday’s confrontational press briefing that Trump was answering “no” as if to state he was no longer taking more questions, instead of definitively contradicting the U.S. intelligence community and top officials who have publicly stated Russia’s efforts to interfere have continued well after the 2016 election.

“I had a chance to speak with the president after those comments, and the president said ‘thank you very much’ and was saying ‘no’ to answering questions,” Sanders said. “The president and his administration are working very hard to make sure that Russia is unable to meddle in our elections as they have done in the past and as we have stated.”

Sanders was pressed several times by reporters throughout the roughly half-hour briefing and stood by the statement that Trump was not answering the question put to him.

In one fiery exchange, Sanders was pressed by NBC News's Hallie Jackson about Trump reversing course on his views of Russia’s meddling for the second time in three days, and about the president and White House’s overall credibility.

“Actually, I’m interpreting what the president said, I’m not reversing,” Sanders said.

Jackson said she could not remember Trump ushering reporters out of press gaggles by saying “no.”

Reporters who heard Trump initially believed he was directly answering the question over Russia’s continued meddling, which would have echoed Trump’s undermining of U.S. intelligence agencies and appearing to side with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Trump said Monday in Helsinki that he believed Putin’s denials despite Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and other officials accusing Russia of interfering in 2016 and remaining a threat.

Following a Cabinet meeting, Trump told reporters Wednesday that his administration has been harder on Russia than any in the past and pointed to sanctions and other measures taken over the last 18 months.

“We’re doing very well…probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russia. And there’s been no president, ever, as tough as I have been on Russia. All you have to do is look at the numbers, look at what we’ve done. Look at sanctions, look at ambassadors not there, look, unfortunately, at what happened in Syria recently,” Trump said.

The president added that he believed Putin knows full well how tough a stance the Trump administration has taken against Russia.

“And I think President Putin knows that better than anybody, certainly a lot better than the media. He understands it, and he’s not happy about it. And he shouldn’t be happy about it because there’s never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been,” Trump said.

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