Trump Believes Putin’s Denial Of Election Interference

President Trump on Twitter Sunday denied questioning whether Russia attempted to meddle in the 2016 election:

I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia - it never did!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018

The president was referring to comments he made in the first general election debate saying interference efforts "could be Russia. But it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?"

President Trump © Mandel Ngan/Getty Images President Trump

However, Trump also said in November of 2017 he is convinced by Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of election interference. "Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that,'" Trump said of Putin, "and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it."

In other tweets Saturday and Sunday, Trump complained about press coverage of Friday's indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. He also argued it was Moscow's goal "to create discord, disruption, and chaos within the U.S.," and he pushed back on National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster's Saturday remark that evidence of Russian meddling "is now incontrovertible."

One Sunday tweet on the subject ended on a plaintive note: "But," Trump asked, "wasn't I a great candidate?"

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