'Nobody really knows' - Trump on Russian meddling

  • 07/07/2017
Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Photo credit: Reuters

One day before his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump has said no one knows for sure whether Moscow intervened in the 2016 US election - but he suspected Russian involvement.

Speaking to reporters in Poland on Thursday, Mr Trump played down the assessment of his own intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the election by hacking Democrats' emails and distributing online propaganda.

"I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure," Mr Trump told a news conference.

Investigations by a special counsel, Robert Mueller, and several US congressional committees are looking into whether Russia interfered in the election and colluded with Mr Trump's campaign.

Those probes are focused almost exclusively on Moscow's actions, lawmakers and intelligence officials say, and no evidence has surfaced publicly implicating other countries.

Moscow has denied any interference, and Mr Trump says his campaign did not collude with Russia.

Mr Trump, who defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election despite losing the popular vote, will meet Putin on Friday at a G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg for their first official encounter.

It was not clear whether the Republican President would bring up the issue of election interference when the two men meet.

Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee, said Mr Trump's remarks in Poland about the election only propagated "his own personal fiction".

"The President's comments today, again casting doubt on whether Russia was behind the blatant interference in our election and suggesting - his own intelligence agencies to the contrary - that nobody really knows, continue to directly undermine US interests," Mr Schiff said in a statement.