Russian President Vladimir Putin held a press conference Saturday morning at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, claiming that President Donald Trump accepted his denials of Russian hacking and interference in the 2016 election when the two leaders met in private on Friday.
Putin, according to the Associated Press, confirmed what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters after the meeting: that Trump asked Putin multiple times about accusations that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election on his behalf.
Putin asserted Saturday that he thinks his answers denying allegations of Russian meddling “satisfied” Trump.
“It seems to me that he has taken note of that and agreed, but it’s better to ask him about his attitude,” Putin said, according to AP. Putin added that “Moscow and Washington would be able to improve their ties if the two countries keep relating the way he and Trump did.”
U.S. officials denied this account of the meeting on Friday, but did so anonymously instead of in a public press conference.
Senior admin official tells me POTUS did not accept Putin claim of non-interference in last year's election.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) July 7, 2017
But Tillerson, much to the alarm of U.S. lawmakers, said the Friday meeting between the two presidents focused not on accountability for the hacking, but on how to “move forward,” including plans to cooperate on cybersecurity.
Trump, in a break with longstanding tradition, left the G20 summit without holding a press conference. He was one of the only world leaders to do so.