Vladimir Putin told me ‘he absolutely didn’t meddle’ in US election: Trump

Trump and Putin met briefly on the sidelines of the APEC summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang .

world Updated: Nov 11, 2017 18:14 IST
Agencies, Hanoi
Donald Trump,Vladimir Putin,Trump Putin meet
US President Donald Trump chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in Danang on November 11.(AFP Photo)

US president Donald Trump on Saturday said Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin told him that “he didn’t meddle” in US elections that propelled the billionaire former reality star to the White House.

Trump’s relationship with Moscow has stalked the first year of his presidency, with key former aides under a US investigation for alleged collaboration with the Kremlin.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an associate are under house arrest on charges including conspiracy to launder money, linked to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into allegations that the campaign colluded with Russia.

The US leader had “two or three” brief conversations with Putin on the margins of the APEC summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang, Trump told reporters on Air Force One on the way to a state visit in Hanoi.

“He (Putin) said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again,” he said.

“You can only ask so many times... He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election.”

Trump explained that Putin reiterates his denial “every time” the pair meet, adding his counterpart seems “very insulted” by the persistent allegations.

But he would not be drawn on whether he believes the Russian strongman.

Social media giants Twitter and Facebook have said paid for and free content with Russian links carrying divisive election related messages spun across their platforms ahead of the crunch poll.

Putin says claims of Russian meddling in US vote ‘fantasies’

Putin said accusations that Moscow meddled in US elections, particularly through contacts with Donald Trump’s campaign team are “fantasies” and are motivated by American domestic politics.

“Everything about the so-called Russian dossier in the US is a manifestation of continuing domestic political struggle,” he said, adding that allegations that his niece has met with Trump’s former advisor George Papadopoulos are “some kind of fantasies.

First Published: Nov 11, 2017 16:39 IST