Trump: ‘I really believe’ Putin when he denies election meddling

Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday that he believes Vladimir Putin’s denials that he had any role in meddling with the 2016 election, which is notable insomuch as it means he’s taking Putin’s word over U.S. intelligence agencies.

“He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I asked him again. You can only ask so many times.”

Trump, who met privately with Putin at the APEC summit on Friday for about five minutes, echoed the same comments he made after meeting with Putin at the G20 summit back in July. Putin denied having any part in disrupting the 2016 election then too, and Trump seemed to take his word for it, specifically because POTUS used the foolproof interrogation technique of asking the Russian president twice. Couldn’t hurt to ask a third time though, right?

“I just asked him again,” Trump went on “He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election, he did not do what they are saying he did.”

Asked whether he believed Putin, Trump responded, “Well, look, I can’t stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine rather than arguing about whether or not…that whole thing was set up by the Democrats.”

It’s just Ukraine. There’s no “the.”

“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,” Trump added. “But he says ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”

To be clear, there are doubts about what exactly Russia did or didn’t do to influence the 2016 election. It’s just slightly odd the the U.S. president would take someone else’s word over the word of their own intelligence agencies. Not to say organizations like the CIA and FBI are what you would call trustworthy, but I’m not sure too many people would use that word to describe Vladimir Putin either. This entire exchange leaves us with only one question.

Where’s the pee tape?

[Axios | Photo: Getty]