U.S. Markets closed

Mark Cuban comes to Trump's defense on Russian interference claims...sort of

Javier E. David
Photo by Eric McCandless

President Donald Trump was offered political cover on Saturday by an unlikely source: Mark Cuban, a fellow billionaire and mogul with whom the president has repeatedly sparred.

As Congress probes suspected ties between Russia and officials close to the president, Cuban launched into a lengthy defense that was little more than a theory. It was unusual, given that there's no love lost between the two men, who frequently trade barbs and diatribes on social media.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Cuban said he believed Trump was "clueless" to any attempts by Russia to co-opt surrogates and campaign officials at the height of the 2016 general election.

The billionaire, who owns the Dallas Mavericks and backed Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, theorized that there was "no chance" Trump was in on efforts by the Kremlin to influence the vote—but defended the president in the most backhanded way possible.

Trump had " had no idea this was happening," Cuban wrote, adding that Trump has defended Russia in the past based solely on his business interests. "He was doing what he was told to do. Stick to the script and read what was written for him," Cuban said.

In an interview with CNBC this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced U.S. accusations as politically motivated "lies." Cuban, however, staked out a position substantially at odds with some Clinton-backers —a few of whom have speculated Trump was directly involved in the effort to "hack" the election.

"I think Putin recognized trumps greed and took advantage by back channeling coordinated misinformation in an attempt to influence voters," Cuban wrote.

Trump has made sport of name-calling Cuban on social media, at one point referring to him as "dopey." Cuban often downplays Trump's insults, or responds with thinly veiled criticism.



More From CNBC