President Trump has consistently disagreed the U.S. intelligence community when talking about Russian interference in the 2016 election. At a summit in Helsinki, he even said that he believed Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies and he refused to impose sanctions on the Russians for election meddling.
The Russian president and Trump have met on a handful of occasions since Trump entered the Oval Office, and on Friday, they sat down at during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The pair seemed friendly, with Putin smirking through the encounter.
At one point, a reporter asked Trump if he will tell the Russians not to meddle in the 2020 election and the president replied, “of course I will,” before mockingly telling Putin, “Don’t meddle in the election, please. Don’t meddle in the election.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 28, 2019
At another point in their conversation, Trump and Putin also joked about the problem of journalists who are critical of them. Trump said, “Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it?” Reporters in Russia have been murdered at an alarming rate.
Since the beginning of his administration, Trump has repeated that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians during the 2016 election. After Robert Mueller’s investigation found that there was not enough evidence to determine collusion between the campaign and the Russians, Trump cited the report as proof of vindication.
The FBI has already begun warning that the Russians are likely to attempt to interfere in the 2020 elections. During a speech in April, FBI Director Christopher Wray said: “We are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020.”