Putin says Trump believed his denial that Russia meddled in election
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said he assured President Trump that Russia did not interfere in the U.S. election, and that he thinks the president believed his denial.
Putin was the first leader to provide detailed comments about the meeting, which took place on Friday. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two since Trump took office, and lasted nearly two hours longer than planned.
Trump should speak for himself on whether he believes Russia interfered, Putin said according to the Associated Press.
Prior to his meeting with Putin, Trump said Russia could have interfered in the 2016 election but “nobody really knows for sure.”
Trump has yet to speak about the meeting with Putin aside from calling it “tremendous” in a brief aside earlier in the day. He is not holding a press conference in Germany, in a break with tradition.
Conflicting reports have surfaced about what was discussed between the two men.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump repeatedly pressed Putin regarding possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, an issue currently under FBI and congressional investigation in the U.S.
However, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – in a summary that matched Putin’s – implied the topic was brief and not contentious.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Trump should not give “equal credence” to Putin as to the American intelligence community, which has concluded Russia did attempt to interfere in the election.