DANANG, Vietnam — President Trump mentioned on Saturday that he believed President Vladimir V. Putin was sincere in his denials of interference in the 2016 presidential elections, calling inquiries about Moscow’s meddling a politically motivated “hit job” that was hindering cooperation with Russia on life-or-death concerns.
Speaking soon after meeting privately with Mr. Putin on the sideline of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Danang, Vietnam, Mr. Trump stated that he had once more asked regardless of whether Russia had meddled in the contest, but that the continued focus on the issue was insulting to Mr. Putin. (Study a transcript of President Trump’s remarks)
Mr. Trump mentioned it was time to move past the problem so that the United States and Russia could cooperate on confronting the nuclear threat from North Korea, solving the Syrian civil war and functioning together on Ukraine.
“He mentioned he didn’t meddle — I asked him again,” Mr. Trump told reporters[two] traveling with him aboard Air Force 1 as he flew to Hanoi for a lot more meetings. “You can only ask so numerous times. I just asked him once again. He said he completely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”
Mr. Trump did not answer a direct query about regardless of whether he believed Mr. Putin’s denials, but his account of the conversation indicated he was far much more inclined to accept the Russian president’s assertions than those of his personal intelligence agencies, which have concluded that Mr. Putin directed an elaborate work to interfere in the vote.
“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I actually believe that when he tells me that, he signifies it,” Mr. Trump stated of Mr. Putin. “I think he is extremely insulted by it, which is not a very good issue for our country.”
His remarks inspired quick ridicule from Democratic lawmakers, such as Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the leading Democrat on the Residence Intelligence Committee.
Representative Ted Lieu, yet another California Democrat, called Mr. Trump “dumb as a rock.” Mr. Lieu wrote on Twitter[four] that each he and Mr. Trump had seen classified info on Russia’s interference in the election, and that Mr. Trump’s comments were lies.
“Trump knows the Kremlin hacked America last year,” Mr. Lieu stated.
Mr. Trump heaped disdain on the former leaders of 3 American intelligence agencies — John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence and James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired this year — appearing to suggest that they have been less trustworthy than Mr. Putin.
“I mean, give me a break — they’re political hacks,” Mr. Trump said. “You have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey’s verified now to be a liar, and he’s verified to be a leaker, so you appear at that. And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had absolutely nothing to do with that.”
After Mr. Trump’s comments, Gen. Michael V. Hayden[five], a former director of each the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, wrote on Twitter that the C.I.A. had told him that the agency’s director “stands by and has constantly stood by” its January findings regarding Russian interference.
“The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed,” he wrote.
The president mentioned lingering inquiries about regardless of whether his campaign aides had worked with Russia to sway the election had been souring Washington’s partnership with Moscow on a host of vital security problems.
“Having a very good relationship with Russia is a great, wonderful issue,” Mr. Trump stated. “This artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way, and that’s a shame, simply because people will die.”
The allegations of collusion are the topic of an investigation by the specific counsel Robert S. Mueller III, as effectively as a number of congressional inquiries.
Mr. Trump’s comments about the Russian president and his warning about deteriorating Moscow ties came after the close of the APEC conference right here in Danang, where the White House steered clear of a formal meeting between the two males and created a point of announcing on Friday that a single would not occur.
The small group of reporters who travel with Mr. Trump were barred from covering his activities for most of Saturday, leaving them in the dark about his informal interactions. But video showed him shaking hands with Mr. Putin on Friday evening at a gala dinner and chatting with him on Saturday before and soon after a group photograph of the APEC leaders.
The Kremlin released a statement saying that the leaders had met and struck an agreement on Syria, but the White Property did not confirm the information for most of the day. Then, in a question-and-answer session with reporters later, Mr. Trump stated he had had two or three short conversations with Mr. Putin, largely about Syria.
The talks have been described in a joint statement by United States and Russia that reaffirmed preceding commitments to defeat the Islamic State and to untangle conflicts in between their forces on the Syrian battlefield.
It stated that Mr. Trump believed he had had “a great meeting” with Mr. Putin on common efforts that, once in place, would “save thousands of lives.”
Mr. Trump’s description of the exchange about election meddling was striking since it suggested that he concurred with Mr. Putin’s oft-stated contention that the problem was a contrived story that had been allowed to turn out to be an irritant amongst the United States and Russia, to the detriment of both nations.
“This is actually an artificial barrier that is place in front of us for solving problems with Russia,” Mr. Trump mentioned of Mr. Putin. “He says that very strongly he actually appears to be insulted by it, and he says he didn’t do it.”
Mr. Trump’s reaction recalled the first face-to-face speak in between the two presidents, on the sideline of the Group of 20 summit meeting in July in Hamburg, Germany, during which Mr. Trump broached the subject of Russia’s election meddling but threatened no consequences.
When Mr. Putin denied it, American officials stated at the time, Mr. Trump mentioned the two countries have to agree to disagree on the problem and move on to other topics exactly where they could perform with each other.
Russian officials offered an alternative account, asserting at the time that Mr. Trump had accepted Mr. Putin’s denial of the election interference and even mentioned that some in the United States have been “exaggerating” Moscow’s function without proof.
That seemed to have been Mr. Trump’s message on Saturday, when he repeatedly blamed Democrats for allegedly harming his efforts to enhance relations with Russia by pushing false charges.
“I contact it the artificial Democrat barrier that gets in the way,” Mr. Trump mentioned. “Which is a shame.”
Mr. Putin similarly brushed off recent revelations that Russians had contacts with Mr. Trump’s campaign team — which includes an aide who had met with a woman described as Mr. Putin’s niece — as a “domestic political struggle” in the United States.
“I think that every little thing connected with the so-named Russian dossier in the United States is a manifestation of a continuing domestic political struggle,” Mr. Putin mentioned right after the summit meeting, in remarks carried by Russian news media.
“I learned only yesterday about some sort of meeting of my relatives with representatives of the administration or official figures,” Mr. Putin stated. He mentioned his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, had told him about the reports.
“I know completely absolutely nothing about this — completely nothing,” Mr. Putin stated. “It appears like nonsense.”
He told reporters in Danang, “It’s essential that we discover an opportunity, with our teams, to sit down at the level of presidents and speak by means of our complicated relations.” He added: “Our relations are nonetheless in crisis. Russia is prepared to turn the page and move on.”
Mr. Putin stated a scheduling conflict and an unspecified situation with protocol had gotten in the way of a much more substantive meeting with Mr. Trump. “This was connected to Mr. Trump’s schedule, and my schedule, and certain formalities with protocol that our teams, however, didn’t resolve. Properly, they will be punished,” he said.
“Still, nothing terrible happened,” Mr. Putin added. “We spoke in the course of today’s gathering we had a conversation.”
Mr. Putin mentioned that Mr. Trump behaved at meetings “with the highest level of very good will and correctness,” adding, “He is a cultured particular person, and comfortable discussing matters associated to work.”
Source: New feed