Official says Trump raised issue of 2018 election meddling to Putin at meeting

Official says Trump raised issue of 2018 election meddling to Putin at meeting
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A Trump administration official familiar with the conversation between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a recent summit said that Trump brought up the issue of Russia's ongoing election interference efforts during the meeting.

The official told Bloomberg News that Trump brought up potential efforts from Russian agents to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections during their meeting last month, the topics of which so far have been shrouded in secrecy.

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Other conversation topics between the two men included the ongoing efforts against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, as well as territorial disputed in the Israeli-occupied Golan heights, according to the report.

Trump also confronted Putin over Russia's support of Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria, the official told Bloomberg, which has been accused of bombing civilians and unleashing chemical attacks.

The president previously pledged to bring up the issue of Russian election interference after his tumultuous NATO summit in July, derisively referring to it as the media's "favorite" subject.

“I think we go into that meeting not looking for so much. We want to find out about Syria. We will of course ask your favorite question about meddling. I will be asking that question again,” he told reporters.

“What am I going to do? He may deny it,” Trump added days before his planned summit in Helsinki with the Russian president. “All I can say is ‘Did you?’ and ‘Don’t do it again.’ ”

Trump and Putin met for two hours last month amid criticism of the president's response to the ongoing investigation into his campaign's alleged ties to Russia. Trump ignited a new round of criticism after the meeting when he appeared to side with Russia over the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies concerning meddling in the 2016 election.

The president later walked back his remarks, claiming that he meant to side with his intelligence agencies on the issue of election interference while continuing to argue that "other people" could have been involved.