Trump Today: President says Putin denial of election interference was ‘powerful’

At a joint press conference, President Donald Trump on Monday said he believed the “incredibly strong and powerful” denial of election interference by Russian President Vladimir Putin as he raised doubts about the findings from U.S. intelligence.


Trump’s comments came after a roughly two-hour meeting with Putin in which just translators were present. Asked by reporters if he believed Putin or the U.S., Trump brought up the issue of 33,000 missing emails from Hillary Clinton, which were sought by House Republicans in the Benghazi probe. Trump also brought up FBI agent Peter Strzok, who testified last week in the House Intelligence Committee, and why the FBI did not physically obtain the server of the Democratic National Committee.

“He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged 12 Russian military intelligence agents on Friday with hacking into the computers of Clinton and the Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 election. Trump said the Mueller probe was complicating the U.S.-Russian relationship. Putin said he would offer Mueller the opportunity to listen in on a Russian investigation of those agents if Russia were able to listen in on a questioning of U.S. agents. “I think that’s an incredible offer,” Trump said.

Putin maintained that a final conclusion on the issue of Russian involvement can only be delivered by a trial. The 12 agents are unlikely to ever be extradited to the U.S., making such a trial nearly impossible to conduct.

Putin was asked if he had compromising material on Trump, a reference to the dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent. Putin said he didn’t know Trump at the time of his 2013 trip.

Trump in broad terms said both countries were responsible for the state of U.S.-Russian relations but only faulted the U.S., which is similar to the tweet he issued before the one-on-one with Putin. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt,” which the Russian foreign ministry quote-tweeted with the words, “we agree.”


According to Trump and Putin’s descriptions, the pair discussed nuclear disarmament, and Putin said he delivered requests about how to proceed on arms-control negotiations. Putin suggested a possible extension of the nuclear arms reduction treaty between the two nations.

They also said they discussed the issue of protecting Israel from the Syria conflict.

According to Putin, Trump did not offer to recognize Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

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