Washington: United States President Donald Trump said he would discuss Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the summit slated to be held in Finland next month. Speaking to reporters aboard the Air Force One, Trump, who is off to New Jersey for the weekend, said, “We don’t want anyone tampering with elections.” The US President further said Russia’s interference in Ukraine and its role in the Syrian civil war would be other key issues for discussion with Putin on July 16, The Hill reported.
Trump’s comments came after he expressed doubt on the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia sought to interfere in the presidential election, adding that Russia did not play a role in the alleged meddling. “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election! Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!” he tweeted.
Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, who met with the Russian President in Moscow earlier this week, said that he discussed the issue with Putin and the same would be on the table in the Helsinki summit. “We did indeed talk about Russian interference in the elections and I expect it will be a subject of conversation between the two presidents as well,” Bolton said at a news conference on Wednesday. The US intelligence community believes that the Russian government was engaged in electoral interference during the 2016 US presidential elections.
A January 2017 assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that Russian leadership preferred Trump over then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and that Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Clinton’s electoral chances and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process. Russia had earlier denied meddling in the US election campaign and Trump called special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe on the Russian interference a “political witch hunt”. (ANI)