US President Donald Trump said today it was time to work “constructively” with Russia, saying his counterpart Vladimir Putin had “vehemently denied” meddling in the 2016 election. “I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election,” Trump said after returning from Europe where he met Putin for the first time. “He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..”
Writing on Twitter, Trump said he and Putin had talked about the idea of setting up what he called “an impenetrable cyber security unit” to prevent hacking in future elections. He also said the two men had discussed the implementation of a ceasefire in Syria which began today, saying “it will save lives”.
“Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” Putin and Trump met on Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg, a meeting that was overshadowed by allegations that Russia sought to influence the outcome of last year’s US presidential election.
The US and Russian sides have issued sharply conflicting accounts of the meeting, with Putin saying on Saturday that Trump had been “satisfied” by his denials of any Russian interference in the polls. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the Russian denials had been expected but cut no ice. “This is Russia trying to save face,” she told CNN. “And they can’t. They can’t. “Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections.”