“I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”
President Donald Trump just sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the US intelligence community. That’s because in one of their conversations during an international summit in Vietnam, Putin denied that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential — and Trump bought it.
“He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One today. “Every time he sees me he says I didn’t do that and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”
It’s remarkable enough that Trump openly admitted he just believed whatever Putin told him. It’s even more startling when you realize that in January, the FBI, CIA, and NSA clearly assessed that Russia did interfere in the election — and that Putin was behind it. Here’s part of that conclusion:
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.
This isn’t the first time Trump accepted Putin’s account about election interference. On July 7, the two men had a one-on-one meeting at the G20, a gathering of the world’s top 20 economies. There, Putin also denied Russia’s efforts to interfere in the election, and Trump reportedly took it at face value.