Bolton says election interference likely to come up during Trump-Putin summit

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White House national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday that President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are likely to discuss Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election when they meet at a planned summit.

Bolton, who is in Moscow negotiating details of the summit between the two leaders, also said that election interference came up during his conversations with Putin.

{mosads}“We did indeed talk about Russian interference in the elections and I expect it will be a subject of conversation between the two presidents as well,” Bolton told reporters at a news conference.

A Kremlin aide previously said that election interference came up during the conversations between Bolton and Putin – an allegation the Russian side again denied.

Officials from both nations said on Wednesday that the U.S. and Russia agreed to plans for the summit between Trump and Putin, though the details on when and where it will take place are likely to be released publicly on Thursday. The  two leaders are expected to meet next month, when Trump will be traveling to Europe for a NATO summit and visit to the United Kingdom.

Trump previously raised the issue of election interference when he met with the Russian president on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam last November. 

Trump created a media firestorm when he indicated he believed Putin when the Russian president said Moscow did not interfere in the 2016 election. 

“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,” Trump told reporters following the meeting. 

Trump later clarified his remarks by saying he believes “in our intel agencies” – referring to the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow meddled in the election using cyberattacks and disinformation.

Bolton on Wednesday was also asked to address an op-ed he wrote in The Telegraph last year accusing Putin of looking into Trump’s eyes “and lying to him” by denying that Moscow interfered in the election. Bolton declined to repeat that characterization. 

“I don’t really address what I’ve written in the past or said on television,” Bolton said. “It’s all out there. Right now, I’m an adviser to President Trump. It’s his agenda we are pursuing.” 

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