‘He said he didn’t meddle’: Trump talks with Putin about U.S. elections and Syria in short interactions

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The Washington Post

President Trump on Nov. 11 stated he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is being truthful when he denies that Russia meddled within the 2016 presidential election. (Reuters)

President Trump stated Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin once more denied that Moscow tampered within the U.S. presidential marketing campaign final 12 months.

The 2 males had temporary conversations throughout a bigger assembly of the Asia-Pacific Financial Cooperation discussion board in Danang, Vietnam, earlier than Trump flew to Hanoi for a bilateral assembly Sunday with Vietnamese leaders.

Trump stated that he had “two or three” temporary conversations with Putin largely centered on the struggle in Syria, however added that he pressed the Russian chief on Moscow’s position in trying to intrude within the 2016 election.

“He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump stated, answering questions within the press cabin on Air Pressure One. “I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. . . . He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”

Trump stated that he believed Putin was “sincere” in his denials, and that Putin appeared to search out the query insulting. Suggesting that what he referred to as the “artificial Democratic hit job” of investigations of his marketing campaign had been stopping U.S.-Russian cooperation on a variety of points, together with North Korea, Trump stated that it’s “a shame, because people will die because of it.”

In his personal information convention after their talks, Putin stated he knew “absolutely nothing” about contacts with Trump marketing campaign officers, and referred to as experiences that a marketing campaign official sought a gathering together with his niece “bollocks,” in response to an interpreter.

“They can do what they want, looking for some sensation,” Putin stated of the investigations. “But there are no sensations.”

Putin stated he and Trump “hardly know each other,” however described the U.S. president as “very professional, very friendly, he behaves very appropriately. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to get down to some more details,” he stated, “because we have many matters to discuss.”

He blamed the dearth of a proper assembly between the 2 on the convention on the “failure” of their respective groups, and stated they’d be “lectured” on the lapse.

The 2 leaders issued a joint assertion pledging to proceed their cooperation to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, and their dedication to U.N.-brokered peace negotiations between the federal government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opponents preventing to oust him.

Trump additionally described former FBI director James B. Comey, who testified to Congress that Trump requested him to drop an investigation of his marketing campaign’s ties to Russian officers, as a confirmed “liar” and “leaker.” Trump referred to as the previous U.S. intelligence officers who concluded that the Russians tampered — together with former director of nationwide intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and former CIA director John Brennan — “political hacks.”

Clapper, Brennan and Comey, on behalf of the 17-agency intelligence group, issued a report in January describing an unprecedented Russian intelligence operation to undermine public religion within the U.S. democratic course of and assist elect Trump.

The intelligence businesses have stated that Russian hackers stole and made public hundreds of emails from the Democratic Nationwide Committee, additionally unfold misinformation in an try to assist Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump, nevertheless, has stated he doesn’t consider that Russia actively sought to assist him.

The evaluation sparked ongoing, separate investigations by Congress and particular counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a former FBI director, of Russian interference within the marketing campaign. These inquiries embrace figuring out whether or not there was any collusion between the Russians and the Trump marketing campaign.

Trump stated that Putin “is very, very strong in the fact that he didn’t do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently, says he has nothing to do with that. Now, you are not going to get into an argument, you are going to start talking about Syria and the Ukraine.”

Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), the rating Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated in an announcement that he was left “completely speechless” by Trump’s willingness “to take the word of Vladi­mir Putin, a former intelligence operator who spent years working against us, over the conclusions of our own combined intelligence community.”

In response to questions on Trump’s remarks, the CIA issued an announcement saying that Director Mike Pompeo “stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community assessment. . . . The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.” The evaluation didn’t deal with whether or not Russian meddling altered the election end result.

Mueller’s group lately introduced indictments towards former Trump marketing campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an affiliate, Richard Gates, alleging that between 2006 and 2016, they tried to launder cash made as consultants to Russian-allied leaders in Ukraine and that they’d acted as unregistered brokers for a international authorities.

“There was no collusion,” Trump stated on the airplane. “Everybody knows there was no collusion.”

He labeled “phony” a file compiled by a former British intelligence agent alleging ties between Trump and Moscow. The doc was later turned over to U.S. legislation enforcement authorities. Most of the allegations haven’t been independently confirmed.

Trump additionally solid blame on former president Barack Obama and Clinton, a former secretary of state, who famously tried a “reset” of U.S. relations with Russia throughout Obama’s first time period. Trump referred to Clinton’s “stupid reset button,” during which she introduced Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov with an oversize “reset button” that erroneously used the Russian phrase for “overload” as an alternative of “reset.”

“Hillary tried it, she failed, nobody mentions it,” Trump stated. “She hit that reset button. It was a joke. But she tried and she failed.” Trump stated that Obama had unhealthy chemistry with Putin and that Clinton was “in way over her head.”

When Trump was requested throughout the flight to Hanoi whether or not he believed Putin’s denial of tampering, he stated: “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ but I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. . . . I think he’s very insulted by it, and that’s not a good thing for our country.”

Trump met with Putin this summer time on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany, after which he stated Putin issued related denials. Each then and now, Trump didn’t straight reply to questions as as to whether he believes Putin.

On a distinct subject, Trump was requested whether or not Roy Moore, the Republican nominee within the U.S. Senate race in Alabama, ought to drop out of the race over allegations that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old lady when he was 32 . White Home press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders advised reporters two days in the past that Trump thinks that “mere allegations” aren’t sufficient to “ruin” Moore’s life however that if the allegations are true, he ought to “do the right thing and step aside.”

Trump stated he has been too busy throughout the Asia journey to deal with the allegations towards Moore.

“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television,” he stated. “I know they like to say that. People that don’t know me, they like to say I watch television — people with fake sources. You know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don’t get to watch much television. Primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents. A lot. And different things. I actually read much more. I read [articles by] you people much more than I watch television. But anyway. So I have not seen very much about him, about it. And you know I put out a statement yesterday that he’ll do the right thing.”

Nakamura reported from Danang, Vietnam. DeYoung reported from Washington.

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