Donald Trump told reporters that he sides with Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence chiefs when it comes to Russian meddling in the election. Trump made the remarks on Air Force One following a summit in Da Nang, Vietnam during which he and Putin spoke three times.
Said Trump, according to CNN:
“He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. 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…I think it’s a shame that something like that could destroy a very important potential relationship between two countries that are really important countries…this is really an artificial barrier that’s put in front of us for solving problems with Russia.”
Added Trump, according to the NYT:
“He says that very strongly, he really seems to be insulted by it and says he didn’t do it. He is very, very strong in the fact that he didn’t do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he has nothing to do with that. Now, you are not going to get into an argument, you are going to start talking about Syria and the Ukraine.”
Trump took Putin’s word over that of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies who concluded that Russia meddled in the U.S. elections.
Trump attacked them as “hacks.”
“I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks. So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker. So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them.”