President Donald Trump said he discussed the U.S. investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, calling the probe a “hoax.”
During a meeting with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Trump told reporters that Putin had called him to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe and also to ask for American-made ventilators to combat Russia’s coronavirus outbreak.
Trump said he agreed. Then he remarked that the Russia “hoax” had made it difficult for the U.S. and Russia to deal with each other, “and we discussed that.”
Earlier, a White House statement on the call between the two leaders said they reflected on Victory in Europe day and discussed the pandemic and arms control.
“The two leaders also covered other bilateral and global issues,” the statement said.
The statement didn’t mention the Russia investigation, which determined that a group led by a Putin associate illegally tried to influence the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf by mounting covert U.S. social media campaigns and other activities.
Trump has repeatedly rejected the findings of the U.S. intelligence community, including in Putin’s company. Trump suffered criticism from U.S. lawmakers in both parties after a Helsinki, Finland news conference with Putin in 2018 in which he said he accepted the Russian leader’s denial that the Kremlin had sought to interfere in his election.
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