- Thomson Reuters
- The White House and the Kremlin had two different stories about a meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that took place on Saturday.
- Trump said Putin insisted Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election, while the Kremlin said the issue was not even discussed.
- This is not the first time the US and Russia have had differing accounts of a meeting between Trump and Putin.
President Donald Trump and the Kremlin offered differing accounts of a meeting Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Saturday.
Trump said that Putin insisted during the meeting that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 US election, and that he believed the Russian leader.
“He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “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.”
However, when CNN asked Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, whether the two leaders had discussed the issue of Russian meddling in the election at all, Peskov replied that they had not.
This is not the first time the US and Russia have given different accounts of an interaction between Trump and Putin. After they met for the first time on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in July, both the White House and the Kremlin acknowledged that Trump and Putin had discussed Russia’s interference in the election.
Following the meeting, secretary of state Rex Tillerson said Trump and Putin had a “robust and lengthy exchange” on the subject.
“The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement,” Tillerson told reporters. “President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.”
But the Kremlin said during a separate press briefing held at the same time that Trump had accepted Putin’s denials of Russian meddling.
“President Trump said he’s heard Putin’s very clear statements that this is not true and that the Russian government didn’t interfere in the elections and that he accepts these statements,” said Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. “That’s all.”