Donald Trump said on Saturday he believes Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russian involvement in the manipulation of the 2016 presidential election. However, he appeared to contradict himself on Sunday when he said he was “with our agencies” on the question of Russian interference. Speaking at a news conference in Hanoi on Sunday, he was asked about his comments that he believed Putin’s reassurances given by the Russian president on the sidelines of Saturday’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Vietnam. “As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted,” Trump told a news conference in Vietnam. “As currently led, by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.” The president’s comments were criticised by senator John McCain who said in a tweet that there was “nothing America First about taking the word of KGB colonel [Putin]” over the US intelligence community.
Trump was also quickly countered by his own CIA chief, Mike Pompeo. A statement issued by the agency said: “The director stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 intelligence community assessment entitled: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections. The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.”
On Saturday Trump also launched a tirade against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin.