TRUMP ASKED PUTIN ABOUT RUS­SIAN MED­DLING IN U.S. ELEC­TIONS, SAYS HE BE­LIEVES HIM

The Witness - - NEWS -

MOSCOW — Don­ald Trump di­rectly asked Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin dur­ing their talks at a week­end sum­mit in Viet­nam whether al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian med­dling in last year’s U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion were true, RIA news agency re­ported yes­ter­day.

The U.S. pres­i­dent said on Satur­ day he be­lieved Putin’s de­nial of the ac­cu­sa­tions de­spite the view of U.S. in­tel­li­gence agencies that Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence did take place. Trump later dis­tanced him­self from his re­marks.

Ac­cord­ing to RIA, Krem­lin spokesper­son Dmitry Peskov, asked how Trump had raised the ques­tion about al­leged Rus­sian med­dling, said: “In fact, Trump asked whether that in­for­ma­tion could be true, how true it could be, and Pres­i­dent Putin, for his part, ex­plained his po­si­tion, which is that Rus­sia did not in­ter­fere in any elec­tion and this could not be the case.”

Putin also said he did not un­der­ stand “the ground­less state­ments on the is­sue be­ing made in the United States”, Peskov added.

The Rus­sian is­sue has clouded Trump’s first year in of­fice.

Trump’s ini­tial com­ments on Sat­ur­day drew crit­i­cism at home be­cause U.S. in­tel­li­gence agencies have long since con­cluded there was Rus­ sian med­dling through hack­ing and the re­lease of e­mails to em­bar­rass Demo­cratic can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Yes­ter­day, Trump was care­ful to make clear he sided with the in­tel­li­gence agencies un­der his own lead­er­ship. He has pre­vi­ously called the al­le­ga­tions of elec­tion cam­paign col­lu­sion with Moscow a hoax. — Reuters.

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