Donald Trump Defends Russia's Denials of Election Meddling Ahead of Putin Summit

President Donald Trump defended Russia's and President Vladimir Putin’s denials of meddling in the 2016 election Thursday morning as word spread of their confirmed summit next month.

Trump also continued his attacks on Democrats and former FBI director James Comey, and repeated his unproven claim that Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia.

“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!” the president tweeted.

Trump’s comments and the expected one-on-one summit between him and Putin in Helsinki on July 16 follow national security adviser John Bolton’s meeting with the Russian president Wednesday. Bolton said that Trump would again bring up Russia’s interference in the election.

The White House told reporters: “The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues.”

While Bolton told reporters that he “expects” Trump to bring up the election meddling, he dismissed any insinuation that the two leaders meeting for the third time since Trump took office had any hidden meaning. The foreign policy conservative and hardliner also said that Trump determined it was in the “interest of Russia” and “in the interest of peace and security around the world” for the two world leaders to sit down together.

“A lot of people have said or implied over time that a meeting between President Trump and President Putin would somehow prove some nexus between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, which is complete nonsense,” Bolton said.

Trump first met Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Germany almost a year ago, and they again spoke in person at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vietnam in November.

Following the G20 summit, Trump said he directly prodded Putin about the election meddling and said Putin had twice denied any interference by Russia.

Trump has also repeatedly denied that his campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Clinton, and has instead cast aspersions against his political opponents while accusing top members of the FBI and Justice Department of conspiring to undermine his campaign in favor of Clinton.

The president has several times refused to accept the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had conducted an "influence campaign" to ensure Trump, and not Clinton, achieved victory in 2016.

Editor's Pick
Polish minister Jews Goebbels Holocaust

Poland Leader Compares Criticism of Ruling Party

Law and Justice "is fanning political divisions further by spewing conspiracy theories and using language that plays on people’s emotions and strengthens a sense of victimhood,” Zselyke Csaky, an expert on Central Europe at Freedom House, told Newsweek.