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Trump: Putin “means” his denials, is “insulted” by Russiagate claims

Trump hints believes Putin’s Russiagate denials; complains Democrats are creating “artificial barriers” between him and Putin

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Every so often US President Trump makes his profound doubts about the whole Russiagate conspiracy scenario sold to the US public by the US intelligence community, the US media and the Democrats absolutely clear, and he did so again in comments he made to journalists on Air Force One as he flew back to the US from the APEC summit in Vietnam.

Trump had only the briefest interaction with Putin during the APEC summit despite Putin’s willingness engage Trump in a formal meeting.

Though this failure to have a proper meeting is being explained by scheduling difficulties, no one in reality doubts that Trump was warned by his officials that in the present feverish atmosphere a proper meeting between him and Putin would be politically extremely unwise.

Suffice to say that when President Trump has met formally with senior Russian officials – Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in the White House and President Putin at the G20 summit – their private discussions were in both cases immediately leaked and grossly misrepresented.

For completely understandable reasons Trump and his officials do not want that to happen again.

Trump’s brief interactions with Putin at the APEC summit nonetheless seem to have been friendly.  In his comments on Air Force One Trump confirmed that their discussions – short as they were – touched on Russiagate and that Putin – again – emphatically denied the allegations that Russia interfered in the election.

More controversially, in his comments on Air Force One Trump hinted – though he did not quite say – that he believes Putin’s denials

He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.  Every time he sees me he says: ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says: ‘I didn’t do that’

(bold italics added)

For good measure, Trump then went on to say that

[Putin is] very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country

and he then also accused the Democrats of “creating an artificial” barrier between him and Putin, which made it impossible for the two of them to establish a good relationship with each other.

These comments do not say that Trump believes Putin’s denials about Russiagate.  What they say is that Putin expects his denials to be taken seriously.  However the tone of Trump’s comments strongly hints that he believes them.

If so then given the absence of any evidence to support the Russiagate allegations Trump is right and on this issue at least he has kept a clearer head than almost everyone else in authority in the US.

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