President Donald Trump evaded and went on unrelated tangents Monday when asked if he believed American intelligence agencies’ assessments that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
“Who do you believe?” the Associated Press’ Jonathan Lemire asked, after referring to Putin and the intelligence community’s clashing assertions.
Trump responded in part by saying “I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia],” adding that he had “confidence in both parties” — that is, the intelligence community and Putin.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said later.
In between, he dipped and dodged by citing a number of unrelated stories, including the emails Hillary Clinton erased from her personal email server, and a debunked connection to a House Democratic staffer, who Trump referred to as “the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC,” and who federal prosecutors determined had no connection to the stolen Democratic emails.
Asked about whether he believes Putin or the U.S. intelligence agencies who accuse Russia of election meddling, Trump says "I don't see any reason why it would be [Russia]" and "I have confidence in both parties." pic.twitter.com/Z4soTtPB9N
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) July 16, 2018
Correction: This post initially misidentified the Associated Press journalist who asked Trump a question. He is Jonathan Lemire, not Lanier. TPM regrets the error.