President Donald Trump said Monday he sees no reason why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election and declined to endorse U.S. intelligence assessments of the matter.
Trump resisted when asked Monday to condemn Russian meddling in the election. Instead, he complained about a Democratic National Committee computer server and emails belonging to Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he defeated to win the presidency.
Trump and Putin "spent a great deal of time" discussing allegations of Russian election meddling as they met for several hours Monday, the U.S. president said. But Trump did not strongly condemn the interference efforts, which U.S. intelligence agencies insist did occur, including hacking of Democratic emails, the subject of last week's indictment of 12 Russians.
At a joint appearance in Finland with Vladimir Putin, Trump repeated the Russian leader's denials about involvement in the election.
Trump said of Putin: "He just said it's not Russia. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be."
Trump said, as he has countless times, that there was "no collusion" between his campaign and the Russians. Putin, as always, denied all. Trump said he held "both countries responsible" thinks the United States has been "fooling" and that "we're all to blame."
The two leaders spoke at a joint news conference in Helsinki on Monday.