“He Said He Didn’t Meddle”

“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.

While visiting with Russian President Vladimir Putin privately on Saturday, President Donald Trump asked him once again regarding the claims that he used cyber warfare to meddle in the U.S 2016 elections. Mr. Trump has since then made a statement that Mr. Putin had rejected the claims yet again and said that his denial of involvement sounded sincere.

Every time he sees me, he says, “I didn’t do that.” And I believe — I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, “I didn’t do that.” I think he’s very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth.

President Trump met with the President of Russia while traveling to Danang, Vietnam for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting on the 9th day of his Asia Tour. After their conversation, Mr. Trump described Mr. Putin as offended when asked again of accusations and expressed the need for America to move past the allegations against them.

Well, look, I can’t stand there and argue with him. I’d rather have him get out of Syria, to be honest with you. I’d rather have him — you know, work with him on the Ukraine than standing and arguing about whether or not — because that whole thing was set up by the Democrats.

The Kremlin and Trump campaign came under scrutiny last year as the C.I.A, F.B.I, and N.S.A had accused the Russian government of interfering with the elections through social media platforms. Recently, well known internet social companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google have stated their platforms sold political advertising linked to these claims and provided data to Congressional investigators to analyze. The methods used to do so are said to have varied from fake user accounts to targeted audience advertising. Facebook in their testimony to the committee stated that upward of 126 million users may have seen the advertising on their platform alone.

The links between the 2016 campaign and Russia are currently being investigated by a special counsel being led by Robert Mueller. Through out his investigation, two members of the Trump campaign have been indicted for money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying. Those members were Paul Manafort, who was one of Trump’s two campaign managers as well as Rick Gates, a campaign advisor. Michael Flynn, who was briefly the National Security Advisor for President Trump is also expected to be indicted after being one of the primary targets of the special investigation. Although indictments have been served, there has been no evidence of collusion on the behalf of President Trump in those cases. At the same time as the two indictments, it was released that George Popadopolis, a former foreign policy advisor for Mr. Trump, had pleaded guilty to misleading F.B.I about meetings he had with senior Russian officials. He also stated that senior campaign officials were aware of those contacts which was not previously disclosed.

His statements on Saturday have remained consistent with his past rhetoric on the topic which has caused backlash from both Republican, Democratic, and security officials who defend the accusations that have been brought against the Russian government. The Trump Campaign has repeatedly denied the allegations of collusion with Russia in order to win the election and has offered assurance to the country is the midst of the hovering scandal.

View the full transcript of President Trumps statement by following the link to the New York Times.


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