Trump trusts Putin's denial of election meddling

  • 12/11/2017

US President Donald Trump says he believes President Vladimir Putin when he denies accusations that Russia meddled in last year's US election.

The two met briefly at the APEC summit in Vietnam on Saturday and agreed a statement on Syria.

"Every time he sees me he says I didn't do that, and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it," Mr Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One after leaving Danang.

"I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country," Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump, who has called allegations of campaign collusion with Moscow a hoax, has faced questions from Democrats about the matter since he took office.

A special counsel, Robert Mueller, is conducting a probe that has led to charges against Mr Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates.

US intelligence agencies have also concluded Russians interfered in the election to tip it in Mr Trump's favour through hacking and releasing emails to embarrass Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and spreading social media propaganda.

Russia has repeatedly denied meddling in the election.

In Danang, Mr Putin told reporters an alleged link between Mr Manafort and Russia was being fabricated by Mr Trump's opponents.

Mr Putin dismissed suggestions Russia influenced the elections through political advertising. Tech companies, including Facebook, have said some Russian-bought political content spread on their platforms around the time of the election.

"There is no confirmation of our mass media meddling in election campaigns - and there can't be any," Mr Putin said.

After emphasising last year on the campaign trail that it would be nice if the United States and Russia could work together, Mr Trump has had limited contact with Mr Putin since taking office.

In Vietnam, Mr Trump and Mr Putin agreed a joint statement supporting a political solution to the war in Syria.

"We did it very quickly," Mr Trump told reporters "We seem to have a very good feeling for each other, a good relationship considering we don't know each other well."

Talking after their meeting, Mr Putin described Mr Trump as "a well-mannered person and comfortable to deal with".