Going up against America’s intelligence community, President Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he takes the word of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who continued to deny he had any hand in influencing the 2016 presidential election.
According to a transcript of an interview with the president provided to Axios, Trump stated that he no loner wants to to argue with Putin and wants to work with him.
Asked, “Did Russia’s attempts to meddle in US elections come up in the conversations?” Trump replied, “He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times.”
“I just asked him again,” the president continued. “He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election, he did not do what they are saying he did. Well, look, I can’t stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine rather than arguing about whether or not… that whole thing was set up by the Democrats. Look at Podesta, look at all the things that they have done with the phony dossier. Those are the big events. But Putin said he did not do what they said he did. But we have a good feeling toward getting things done.”
Asked specifically about the election, Trump still backed Putin.
“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. But he says I didn’t do that,” He replied. “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country. Because again, if we had a relationship with Russia, North Korea which is our single biggest problem right now, it would help a lot.”
You can read the rest of the interview here.