Putin confirmed he wanted Trump to win the 2016 election

Mikhail MetzelTASS via Getty ImagesUS President Donald Trump (L) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a joint press conference Monday that he wanted President Donald Trump to win the 2016 US presidential election.
  • Putin said he liked that Trump talked about reforming US-Russia relations.
  • Recent indictments by special counsel of Russian intelligence officers for efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential campaign were a major topic at the conference, which Putin dismissed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he wanted President Donald Trump to win the 2016 US presidential election.

“Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” a reporter asked at the joint press conference Putin and Trump held after their one-on-one meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

Speaking through a translator, Putin answered, “Yes I did. Yes I did. Because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal.”

Putin did not address the second part of the question.

Trump’s press conference with Putin was the first between a US and Russian president in nearly a decade. It came just three days after the special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

Over the course of a yearlong investigation, the US intelligence community has unanimously concluded that there was a planned effort to interfere in the election to favour Trump and hurt then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

During the press conference, Trump also said he had “no reason to believe”Russia hacked the US election when a reporter asked who he believed, Putin or the US intelligence community.

The two leaders met in Helsinki for a one-on-one discussion that lasted over two hours, ending with a press conference with Russian and American journalists where the two leaders said they had talked about denuclearization, Syria, and diplomatic relations.

When a reporter asked about the election interference, Putin dismissed the charges as “utter nonsense“. Trump’s top national security adviser John Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday it would be “hard to believe” Putin didn’t know about the interference campaign.

The meeting was hotly contested by lawmakers, who demanded Trump cancel the meeting, to agree to bring other US officials in the meeting, and to prioritise discussing campaign meddling – none of which Trump publicly committed.

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