President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than two hours Monday, in a closed-door summit that will produce no historical record. After their meeting, the two men emerged for a joint press conference, where Putin once again claimed that Russia did not interfere in America's 2016 presidential election — a claim that defies the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russian election meddling and whether there was any collusion by the Trump campaign with those efforts, has indicted multiple Russian entities and individuals for unlawful interference. But during the Monday presser, Trump took the opportunity to once again side with Putin over American intelligence, casting doubt on Russia's culpability by saying "both countries" were "responsible" for their fraught relations.
Trump then went a step further, attacking the Mueller probe while standing side-by-side with Putin. "The probe is a disaster for our country. it's kept us apart. It's kept us separated," Trump said. "There was no collusion. Everybody knows it." For good measure, Trump then cited his Electoral College victory in the 2016 race, noting that he ran a "brilliant campaign" and that's why he won "by a lot."
Putin, for his part, called the allegations of collusion "nonsense." "Could you name a single fact that definitively proves the collusion?" he asked. He later acknowledged outright that he "wanted" Trump to win the 2016 election. Kimberly Alters