President Trump had a closed-door meeting on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. Before the two leaders met privately with their senior aides, they sat together in front of journalists for a photo opportunity. One of the reporters asked Mr. Trump if he would press the Russian leader to ensure his country does not interfere again in the U.S. democratic process.
“Of course I will,” said Mr. Trump with a smirk, before pointing in Putin’s direction and saying, “don’t interfere in the election.” It was unclear whether Mr. Trump followed his sardonic response in front of the cameras with a more serious warning to the Russian leader behind closed doors. The White House did not respond to an inquiry about whether the president’s warning was sincere.
U.S. intelligence agenciesthat the Russian government carried out an orchestrated campaign aimed at influencing the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Mr. Trump acknowledged that interference, but rejected the intel communities’ findings that the Russians “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” and tried to help him.
In a May tweet, the president appeared to acknowledge “,” before walking back the statement later in the day.
Before the question on election meddling, the president lauded his “very, very good” relationship with Putin and said a lot of “positive things” were going to come from it…
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