Putin says Trump seemed to ac­cept med­dling de­nial

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Jim Heintz of The Associated Press.

HAMBURG, Ger­many — Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said Satur­day that in his first face to face meet­ing with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, he thinks Trump ac­cepted his as­sur­ances that Rus­sia didn’t med­dle in the U.S. pres­i­den­tial election and that their con­ver­sa­tion could be a model for im­prov­ing ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

Speak­ing to re­porters af­ter the two-day Group of 20 sum­mit in Ger­many ended, Putin said he and Trump had a long dis­cus­sion about the al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in last year’s election that have dogged Trump’s pres­i­dency.

The Rus­sian leader said he re­it­er­ated his “well-known” po­si­tion that “there are no grounds” for the al­le­ga­tions.

“He asked many ques­tions on the sub­ject, I tried to an­swer them all,” Putin said. “It seems to me that he has taken note of that and agreed, but it’s bet­ter to ask him about his at­ti­tude.”

Putin said his an­swers were de­tailed and cov­ered his dis­cus­sions on the election med­dling is­sue with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­clud­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. But he would not re­veal de­tails of his ex­change with Trump, say­ing the con­ver­sa­tion was con­fi­den­tial.

“He asked ques­tions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was sat­is­fied with the an­swers,” Putin said.

Trump’s top en­voy to the United Na­tions quickly dis­puted the Rus­sian pres­i­dent’s as­sess­ment of Trump’s take­away from their one-on-one meet­ing.

“Pres­i­dent Trump still knows that they med­dled. Pres­i­dent Putin knows that they med­dled, but he is never go­ing to ad­mit to it. And that’s all that hap­pened,” Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley told CNN on Satur­day.

Trump has avoided firmly blam­ing Moscow for cam­paign hack­ing in the past. The day be­fore he met with Putin, he ar­gued vari­ably that it could have been Rus­sia, prob­a­bly was Rus­sia and in­deed was Rus­sia, while in­sist­ing that it could have been other coun­tries, too.

AP/EVAN VUCCI

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks Fri­day dur­ing a meet­ing with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin at the G20 Sum­mit in Hamburg.

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