Trump falsely claims he never said Russia did not meddle

"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 and Putin
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at a November 2017 summit. CREDIT: Jorge Silva/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

But he has repeatedly indicated that he believes Putin’s denials of Russian interference and dismissed reports of meddling as “fake news”.

 

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.’”

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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.