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During a joint press conference held with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, President Donald Trump seemingly walked back sentiments from a day earlier in which he claimed he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin when he said he didn't meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
When asked during the presser if Trump could clarify “once and for all ... whether or not you believe that President Putin and/or Russia interfered in the election,” the president launched into a lengthy response.
At first, Trump moved to qualify his previous comment — he said when Putin tells him that Russia didn't meddle, he “believes it" — saying that he believes that ”[Putin] feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election."
He continued by saying that, personally, he is “with our agencies,” alluding to the fact that he agrees with U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia did, in fact, meddle in the 2016 election. On the matter of Putin, though, Trump doubled down on his sentiments, saying: “I believe that President Putin really feels — and he feels strongly — that he did not meddle in our election. What he believes is what he believes.”
Trump then claimed that the most important thing, however, was to be able to “get along” with Russia “because we have a lot of things we have to solve.” He pointed to Russia and China being key players who can aid the U.S. in the continually escalating situation that is North Korea.
He did point out, however, that “Russia has been very, very heavily sanctioned.”
“What I believe,” Trump continued, “is that we have to get to work,” pointing to the global problems that are North Korea, Syria, and the Ukraine.
“It's now time to get back to healing a world that is shattered and broken,” the president said. “Those are very important things.”
Watch the president's comments below.