Ns News Online Desk: President Donald Trump on Monday refused to accuse Vladimir Putin and Russia of interfering in the US election after their one-on-one sit down in Finland. Asked directly if he believed Putin or his own intelligence community, which concluded that the Russians were behind the hacking and other interference, the president did not directly answer.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” he said as Putin stood several feet away.
Trump then said he saw no reason why Russia would interfere in America’s elections. Putin, meanwhile, admitted he had been rooting for Trump to beat Hillary Clinton. “Yes, I did, yes I did, because he talked about bringing US-Russia relations back to normal,” Putin said.
Trump also praised the Russian strongman for offering to help special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigate the well-documented Russian meddling. “And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators. I think that’s an incredible offer,” he said.
Trump then launched a stunning series of political attacks on Democrats and Clinton while standing on foreign soil — and suggested that he believed Putin’s denials.
“So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server, why haven’t they taken the server. Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee. I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?” the commander-in-chief said. “What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails, 33,000 emails gone, just gone. I think in Russia, they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.”
He also said the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was poisoning relations between the US and Russia. “It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore. Virtually, none of it related to the campaign,” he said.
Trump then defended his campaign and hailed his surprise victory. “They will have to try really hard to find something that did relate to the campaign. That was a clean campaign. I beat Hillary Clinton easily and, frankly, we beat her and I’m not even saying from the standpoint, we won that race,” he continued.
“People know that. People understand it. The main thing — we discussed this also — is zero collusion.” And he repeated his claim that Mueller’s probe was just an excuse cooked up by Democrats for blowing the election.
“It came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election, which frankly, they should have been able to win, because the Electoral College is much more advantageous for Democrats, as you know, than it is to Republicans. We won the Electoral College by a lot, 306 to 223, I believe. That was a well-fought battle. We did a great job,” he said, though the actual tally was 304 to 227.
Putin, meanwhile, put a positive spin on the meeting — but again denied that Russia meddled in the US election and even offered to work with the US to combat cyber warfare.
“President Trump mentioned [the] issue of so-called Russian interference with the American elections. I had to reiterate things I said several times, including during our personal contacts, that the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere in internal American affairs, including election process,” he said. “I hold both countries responsible … I think we’re all to blame.”
Earlier, Trump took to Twitter to blame America for deteriorating relations between Russia and the US — a sentiment the Russian foreign minister quickly approved of, tweeting, “We agree.” “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” he tweeted from foreign soil, referring to Mueller’s investigation. Mueller on Friday indicted 12 Russian GRU intelligence officers for hacking Clinton’s and the Democratic Party’s emails and posting them on a pair of phony websites they created.