Trump for the first time referred to 'Russia helping me to get elected' — then denied it almost straightaway

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted about “Russia helping me to get elected.”
  • The president has previously denied evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election.
  • Shortly after the tweet, he again said that Russia did not help him get elected and that the credit belongs to him alone.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted about “Russia helping me to get elected” in 2016, seemingly a first for him.

The president has for years either denied that Russia interfered in the election or that it had any effect on his victory. US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia did interfere.

Trump mentioned Russian help in the context of having “nothing to do with” it – but it is nonetheless a significant departure from his claims that there was no help from Russia.

Shortly after posting the tweet, Trump again denied that Russia helped his election victory, telling reporters at the White House: “No, Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia did not help me at all.”

He did not explain why he would tweet about Russian help if he didn’t believe it took place.

The tweet was part of a series in which the president attempted to distance himself from Russia and renewed his attacks on the special counsel Robert Mueller’s recently concluded investigation into Russian interference and whether Trump obstructed justice.

“The Greatest Presidential Harassment in history,” Trump tweeted. “After spending $US40,000,000 over two dark years, with unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation, highly conflicted Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!

“Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax…And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist,” Trump continued.

Trump in 2016 famously refused to accept that Russians were responsible for stealing Democrats’ emails, claiming that the hacker “could also be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

At a summit in Helsinki, Finland, in June 2018 with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump attracted fierce bipartisan criticism after appearing to accept Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, contradicting his intelligence agencies.

He has also denied that an interference campaign had any influence on his win, tweeting in April: “Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected.”

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