Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of meddling in the 2016 election with phony social media posts and other tactics. Donald Trump claimed on Sunday that he never said Russia had not interfered in the election — but he repeatedly did say that.
I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
But he has repeatedly indicated that he believes Putin’s denials of Russian interference and dismissed reports of meddling as “fake news”.
Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2017
It is the same Fake News Media that said there is "no path to victory for Trump" that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2017
The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2017
Shortly after the 2016 election, Trump told Time magazine “I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.’”
Last July, Trump said he had repeatedly asked Putin about the topic and that the Russian president had forcefully denied it. “First question, first 20, 25 minutes, I said, ‘Did you do it?’ He said, ‘No, I did not, absolutely not.’ I then asked him a second time, in a totally different way. He said, ‘Absolutely not,” Trump recounted. “Somebody did say if he did do it, you wouldn’t have found out about it. Which is a very interesting point.”
Then, in November, he was even more adamant that he took Putin at his word on the topic. “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 Axios.