Donald Trump denies that there was any Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump gave an interview aboard Air Force One, where he indicated that he believed Putin’s claim of innocence on the issue. Trump said he talked with Putin about the allegations when the two were at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.
“He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump said. “I asked him again. You can only ask so many times.” Of course Putin would say that there was no meddling, and of course Trump would repeat that denial. Yet even Trump dodged a question as to whether or not he fully believed Putin’s denials.
“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 said, noting that he thinks Putin is “insulted” by the accusation, “which is not a good thing for our country.” Instead, echoing Putin’s consistent framing of the issue, Trump said that the meddling allegations were an “artificial Democratic hit job” and “artificial barrier” making it more difficult for the U.S. and Russia to work together on shared security issues like dealing with North Korea or Syria.
The CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, all indicated a “high” level of confidence that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.
Now President Bush has spoken out about the meddling. “There’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled,” Bush said.
He also said: “It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”
Numerous investigations are under way to determine whether Trump’s campaign aided the Kremlin in its efforts. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia, but Robert Mueller seems to have a different perspective.