US President Donald Trump touted the idea of partnering with Russia to create an "impenetrable" cybersecurity unit to address issues such as election and Twitter furiously slammed him for it. Early on Sunday (9 July), Trump took to Twitter to announce that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed creating the unit "so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded and safe".
"I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I've already given my opinion", Trump wrote in a series of tweets following the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. "Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!
"Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded and safe. Questions were asked about why the CIA & FBI had to ask the DNC 13 times for their SERVER, and were rejected, still don't have it.
"Fake News said 17 intel agencies when actually 4 (had to apologize). Why did Obama do NOTHING when he had info before election? Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin."
The idea of a US-Russia cybersecurity unit immediately ignited massive backlash from Democrats, Republicans and social media users expressing disbelief at working together with a nation accused of meddling in the 2016 election.
Russian hackers have also been suspected of launching cyberattacks on US power plants and email systems at the White House, Pentagon and State Department.
The president's announcement also comes amid an ongoing federal investigation, led by FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller, into Russian interference in the election and ties between Trump's campaign and Moscow. Trump and his campaign have denied the allegations while the Kremlin has dismissed claims of election interference as "baseless".
"The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't," Trump tweeted. "But a ceasefire can, & did!"
Twitter, however, lambasted the president for floating the idea with many criticising the proposal as the "most ridiculous" and outrageous idea ever.
"Putin must be rolling on the floor with laughter", journalist Anirvan Ghosh tweeted. "Russia orchestrated a massive hacking that impacted the outcome of an election and instead of being punished for it, Russia is being requested to form a cyber security unit?!
"It's like fox telling hens that he didn't eat any of them, and that he's going to keep all hens safe if they work together. It should make Americans wonder just how safe are they under this President."
One Twitter user wrote: "The lack of respect for our intelligence agencies and America is mind blowing".