- President Donald Trump hit back at his critics over his controversial remarks about Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- On Twitter, Trump asked when will the “haters and fools out there realise that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing.”
- Earlier on Saturday, Trump had told reporters that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin “means it” when he repeatedly said Russia did not meddle in the US election.
President Donald Trump on Saturday lashed out at those criticising him for saying that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin when he said Russia did not interfere in the US presidential election in 2016.
“When will all the haters and fools out there realise that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” he said on Twitter. “There [sic] always playing politics – bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!”
He continued: “Does the Fake News Media remember when Crooked Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was begging Russia to be our friend with the misspelled reset button? Obama tried also, but he had zero chemistry with Putin.”
Trump also tweeted positively about his meeting with Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, Vietnam.
“Good discussions on Syria. Hope for his help to solve, along with China the dangerous North Korea crisis. Progress being made,” he said.
Trump drew fierce backlash earlier on Saturday after he told reporters aboard Air Force One that he believed Putin’s repeated denials that Russia attempted to sway the US election in Trump’s favour.
“He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump said. “I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”
He continued: “I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”
Trump also lambasted several former intelligence officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired in May, as well as former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Trump labelled them “political hacks.”
“So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker. So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them.”
The remarks prompted the Central Intelligence Agency to release a statement saying that director Mike Pompeo “stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment … the intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.”