‘He means it’: Trump seems to take Putin’s denial about election meddling at face worth


While on his method to Hanoi, Vietnam, on the tail finish of a 12-day journey throughout Asia, President Trump spoke with reporters on Air Force One after refusing to do press conferences with world leaders. He recapped the reception the Chinese gave him and appeared to just accept President Vladimir Putin’s denial about election meddling. Here’s his dialog with reporters, annotated with Genius.com. Click on the highlighted textual content to learn the annotations. 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Everybody okay? Everybody comfortable? Everybody wholesome? Two extra days — no drawback.

It’s been a — I believe it has been an excellent journey. In sure methods, it has been very epic. I believe issues have occurred which were actually wonderful. Prime Minister Abe got here as much as me simply on the finish, and he stated that because you left South Korea and Japan, that these two international locations are actually getting alongside a lot, significantly better. That’s from Prime Minister Abe — that there is been an actual bonding between South Korea and Japan. So that was nice.

And we had a time in China. You have been there. Were most of you there? Jennifer?

Q We all have been, sir.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: They say within the historical past of individuals coming to China, there’s been nothing like that. And I imagine it.

Did you see the present? Did most of you see the present or a part of the present afterwards? It was unimaginable.

Q We noticed the opera however not the —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The opera was nice too, however the next evening — that was the primary time that theater has been used on the Forbidden City in over 100 years. You know that. They ready the theater for that — the primary time in over 100 years.

No, it was a tremendous — we’ve a tremendous feeling towards one another. And he is for China; I am for USA. You know, it is a type of issues. But we’ve an excellent feeling.

So it has been actually very unimaginable. And then at this time was wonderful. Today was a unique sort of a factor. It’s a convention.

And then tonight they’re having a state dinner in Hanoi. And we then go to the Philippines, which was a tough journey the final time. That was a tough presidential journey, however this would possibly not be. And we’re staying the additional day as a result of they’ve the 2 conferences; they’ve first day and so they have the second day. And the second day, lots of people say is essential. And I stated, you realize what, if I am there, I ought to do it.

But it is gone very well. I’ve actually loved it. Developed some new friendships — some actually good friendships. But the three international locations we have stopped in, the unique three are — they’re actually in our camp, and we’re of their camp.

Q How have been your discussions with Vladimir Putin? Did you talk about Syria? And apparently they’ve issued a joint badertion that —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We issued a joint badertion. We’re going to be — have you ever seen the badertion but?

MS. SANDERS: It’s going out — it is on the way in which.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So I believe it will exit. You’ll see it in a short while.

MS. SANDERS: It could also be out, now that you just guys — now that we’re within the air.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s going to save lots of great numbers of lives. And we did that in a short time. We agreed in a short time.

As you realize, we noticed one another final evening only for an image, and that was the primary time. And then at this time we had a roundtable with quite a few international locations. You have an inventory of the international locations, clearly. Right? You have an inventory.

And we spoke intermittently throughout that roundtable. We appear to have an excellent feeling for one another and relationship contemplating we do not know one another effectively. I believe it is an excellent relationship.

We had two or three very brief conversations due to the badembly, the truth that we’re at a gathering. But throughout these conversations, we talked about Syria and de-conflicting, et cetera. You know, we’ve areas the place troops are dealing with — our troops — I imply, their troops are dealing with our troops and there is nothing in between.

And we issued a press release — a joint badertion. It was simply accepted, and I believe individuals are going to be extraordinarily proud of it and likewise very impressed with it.

Q Did Russia’s makes an attempt to meddle in U.S. elections come up within the dialog?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: He stated he did not meddle. He stated he did not meddle. I requested him once more. You can solely ask so many occasions. But I simply requested him once more, and he stated he completely didn’t meddle in our election. He didn’t do what they’re saying he did. And he stated —

Q Do you imagine him?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, look, I am unable to stand there and argue with him. I might somewhat have him get out of Syria, to be trustworthy with you. I might somewhat have him — you realize, work with him on the Ukraine than standing and arguing about whether or not or not — as a result of that entire factor was arrange by the Democrats.

I imply, they ought to have a look at Podesta. They ought to have a look at all the issues that they’ve completed with the phony file. Those are the large occasions. Those are the large occasions.

But Putin stated he didn’t do what they stated he did. And, you realize, there are those who say, if he did do it, he would not have gotten caught, all proper? Which is a really fascinating badertion. But we’ve a — you realize, we’ve feeling towards getting issues completed.

If we had a relationship with Russia, that might be factor. In truth, it will be an excellent factor, not a foul factor. Because he may actually badist us in North Korea. We have an enormous drawback with North Korea. And China helps us. And due to the shortage of a relationship that we’ve with Russia due to this synthetic factor that is taking place with this Democratic-inspired factor, we may actually be helped lots, tremendously, with Russia having to do with North Korea.

And, you realize, you are speaking about tens of millions and tens of millions of lives. This is not child stuff. This is the actual deal. And if Russia helped us, along with China, that drawback would go away lots sooner.

Q How did you deliver up the difficulty of election meddling? Did you ask him a query?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: He simply — each time he sees me, he says, “I didn’t do that.” And I imagine — I actually imagine that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, “I didn’t do that.” I believe he is very insulted by it, if you wish to know the reality.

Don’t neglect, all he stated is he by no means did that, he did not try this. I believe he is very insulted by it, which isn’t factor for our nation. Because once more, if we had a relationship with Russia, North Korea — which is our single greatest drawback proper now — North Korea, it will be helped lots. I believe I am doing very effectively with respect to China. They’ve lower off financing; they’ve lower off financial institution strains; they’ve lower off plenty of oil and many different issues, plenty of commerce. And it is having a huge impact. But Russia, alternatively, could also be making up the distinction. And if they’re, that is not factor.

So having a relationship with Russia could be an excellent factor — not factor — it will be an excellent factor, particularly because it pertains to North Korea.

And I will say this, Hillary had her silly reset button that she spelled the phrase improper, however she would not have what it takes to have that sort of a relationship the place you might name or you might do one thing and they might pull again from North Korea, or they’d pull again from Syria, or possibly pull again from Ukraine. I imply, if we may clear up the Ukraine drawback —

But that is actually a man-made barrier that is put in entrance of us for fixing issues with Russia, and he says that very strongly. He actually appears to be insulted by it, and he says he did not do it. So —

Q (Inaudible) do you imagine him —


Q Even if he (inaudible) one-on-one, do you imagine him?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I believe that he’s very, very robust in the truth that he did not do it. And then you definately look, and also you have a look at what is going on on with Podesta, and also you have a look at what is going on on with the server from the DNC and why did not the FBI take it, why did they depart it; why did a 3rd social gathering have a look at the server and never the FBI — for those who have a look at all of these things, and also you say, what is going on on right here?

And then you definately hear it is 17 companies. Well, it is three. And one is Brennan and one is no matter. I imply, give me a break. They’re political hacks.

So you have a look at it — I imply, you have got Brennan, you have got Clapper, and you’ve got Comey. Comey is confirmed now to be a liar and he is confirmed to be a leaker.

So you have a look at that, and you’ve got President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with that. Now, you are not going to get into an argument. You’re going to start out speaking about Syria and the Ukraine.

Q You appear to have a reasonably heat relationship with quite a lot of —


Q — totalitarian or authoritarian leaders —


Q And others. So, Putin, Xi, chief of the Philippines. Do you suppose you — what do you suppose — do you suppose you perceive them in a sure manner or relate to them in a manner that different Presidents have not?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I dont know. They had a narrative at this time in one of many papers about China. China likes me. China likes me. And I get together with them; I get together with others too.

I get alongside very effectively with Angela. You individuals do not write that. I really get alongside very well with Angela. You know, they’d that handshaking occasion. I used to be along with her for a very long time earlier than that. And any person shouts out, “shake her hand, shake her hand.” And I did not hear them. So by not shaking her hand, they stated — I’ve an excellent relationship along with her. I’ve an excellent relationship with Theresa May. I’ve an excellent relationship with Justin Trudeau, who I simply left.

I believe I — I will be trustworthy with you, I believe I’ve an excellent relationship with each single certainly one of them. Every individual in that room at this time — you had what, 15, or so, or 18? Asia Pacific —

Q Well, 21 together with you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Everyone in that room, I’ve relationship. They’re very totally different individuals, however everybody. And I do have an excellent relationship with Xi, clearly. It’s the most important state — it is the most important state entrance and the most important state dinner they’ve ever had, by far, in China. He referred to as it a state-plus. Like he stated it — he really stated, state-plus-plus, which could be very fascinating.

But he is — you realize, look, once more, he is a powerful individual. He’s a really sensible individual. I like him lots; he likes me. But, you realize, we signify two very totally different international locations. But we get alongside very effectively. And that is factor that we alongside; that is not a foul factor.

And on commerce, you realize, it was — a lot of the information lined it pretty. Some did not. When I stated it is not your fault — as a result of I used to be saying how China has been hurting us on commerce for a lot of a long time, for a few years — and it truly is. It’s not his fault. We ought to have been doing that. But we did not do it. It’s the fault of the administrations that preceded me. And we’re not going to try this anymore; we will be very powerful on commerce. And he understands that.

Q In the previous, American presidents have felt the duty to lift points about human rights abuses. Do you’re feeling like that is an obligation and that is one thing that you just really feel is necessary to do?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I do. But I additionally elevate points on many different issues. I imply, I’ve an obligation — we misplaced, final 12 months, with China, relying on the way in which you do your numbers, as a result of you are able to do them a numbers of manner — anyplace from $350 [billion] to $504 billion. That’s with one nation. Im going to repair that. And I’ve bought to repair what we’ve with Mexico, who was there at this time too, who I even have an excellent relationship with. And I’ve an excellent relationship with France. Some of you have been in France with me, with the Eiffel Tower dinner. We have an excellent relationship with Emmanuel.

So I believe that is the factor. I’ve really been getting — I at all times stated it, I believe — I stated, I believe certainly one of my robust fits goes to be overseas affairs. And we’re really getting superb marks having to do with overseas affairs. There’s no one that I can consider that I haven’t got an excellent relationship with.

But once we can — I imply, you may be seeing the discharge that is put out. But we will save many, many, many lives by making a cope with Russia having to do with Syria, after which in the end getting Syria solved and getting Ukraine solved and doing different issues, having relationship with Russia is a superb, good thing.

And this synthetic Democratic hit job will get in the way in which. It will get in the way in which. And that is a disgrace as a result of individuals will die due to it. And it is a pure hit job. And it is artificially induced. And it is a disgrace. But anyway.

Q If we may ask you about Roy Moore. Is it time to pitch him overboard?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, once more, I have been with you of us, so I have never gotten to see an excessive amount of. And imagine it or not, even after I’m in Washington and New York, I don’t watch a lot tv. I do know they prefer to say — individuals that do not know me, they prefer to say I watch tv. People with pretend sources — you realize, pretend reporters, pretend sources. But I do not get to look at a lot tv, primarily due to paperwork. I am studying paperwork lots, and various things.

I really learn rather more — I learn you individuals rather more than I watch tv. But anyway — however so I’ve not seen very a lot about him, about it. And, you realize, I put out a press release yesterday that he’ll do the appropriate factor, that — he was interviewed.

Q But 4 girls have come ahead and accused him of inappropriately touching them, principally making advances once they have been underage, together with a 14-year-old. I imply, at what level — and also you stated, “if he did it.” But at what level do you resolve if he did it? It’s proper now their phrase in opposition to his.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Honestly, I might have to have a look at it and I might should see. Because once more, Im coping with the President of China, the President of Russia, I am coping with the parents over right here. So I have never devoted — I have never been in a position to dedicate very a lot time to it.

And I have been at — I imply, you individuals are simply as robust as me. You’re following me all over. I imply, we’re going to plenty of conferences, proper? And, by the way in which, anyone that took the wager, choose up your cash, okay? And the exhausting stuff was that. Really exhausting.

Q What was the wager once more?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, lots of people stated it is nearly bodily unimaginable for somebody to undergo 12 days.

What I did not need to do was come again as a result of I might have needed to come again. And we might have been on this airplane once more in 5 weeks from now precisely to do 4 days. We have been going to do 4 days and 4 days. And this manner we did twelve, and we hit the large conferences, which is an enormous badet. So anyway.

Q So you are not but ready to say that Roy Moore ought to —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’ll see it when — I imply, I principally put out a press release which was apparent. So I will follow badertion for now, however I will have additional remark as we go down the street. I’ve to get again into the nation to see what’s taking place.

Q Is there one factor that you just have been urgent President Xi on you can say you are going to take away, the place he modified his thoughts or agreed to one thing that you are looking to do particularly on North Korea?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: President Xi made a press release. If you learn his badertion yesterday — have been you all there when he was talking and made the badertion within the large room — the Great Room?

He made a press release that he is dedicated to stopping the nuclearization of North Korea. That’s an enormous badertion. He made that badertion, and lots of people did not — they did not choose that up. I do not suppose it was — as a result of it was a part of the speech. And in some way lots individuals — to me, that was a really large badertion. I even regarded up — as a result of Im sitting ready to talk — and I stated, wow, that is an enormous badertion. He made that badertion in his speech yesterday or the day earlier than, when he made — you realize, once we have been talking collectively. He put a press release out, Sarah, that stated he is dedicated to creating that occur. That’s an enormous badertion.

You know, he was, by this course of — he is probably the most highly effective Chinese chief since Mao Zedong. Some individuals say extra highly effective than Mao. With that being stated, I actually imagine he is individual, he is man, he needs to do proper, he is representing his individuals. He’s robust, he is very robust. But you realize, you have a look at a few of what you noticed was very spectacular. It was very spectacular.

Q What’s the subsequent factor you’d prefer to see him do on Korea?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, I might prefer to have him ratchet it up, and I believe he is doing that. We had a protracted discuss it.

Q But ratchet it up with what?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I used to be with him for hours. You know, I used to be with him — like I sat with him. You have been there at first of that night, proper? Of the —

Q No.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, actually?

Q I wasn’t pool.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I used to be sitting with him. We have been collectively for hours. And the day earlier than, we have been collectively for hours. And we get alongside very effectively. You know, it is easy to be with him for hours. Whereas, if you do not have chemistry, you individuals know, you’ll be able to’t be with any person for 2 minutes. And we talked lots about North Korea. We talked about a variety of issues. We talked lots about North Korea.

No, I believe he’ll ratchet it up. I didn’t converse to President Putin about it as a result of we simply had these little segments that we have been speaking about Syria. But President Putin could be tremendously useful — tremendously useful — if I had Russia and China serving to us with North Korea, I believe that might clear up it. But this synthetic barrier will get in the way in which. I name it the “artificial Democrat barrier.” It will get in the way in which, which is a disgrace.

Q So you did not have time to ask Putin particular issues on North Korea?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I wasnt in a position to — as a result of I actually did not, Jennifer. I actually simply — we did, like, little snippets in between. We did not have a deliberate badembly. We spoke, however we did not have a deliberate badembly.

Q Where did you permit it with President Putin? Are you on the lookout for one other badembly? Him coming to the U.S.? Or are you —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll have a gathering. I believe we’ve the potential to have an excellent relationship. I dont know him like I do know President Xi as a result of I’ve spent a variety of time with President Xi, however I believe we’ve the potential to have a really, superb relationship. I’ve it with Abe. I’ve it with Abe. Very good.

Q Did you see Abe fall on the sand lure?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I did not. I say this: If that was him, he is among the biggest gymnasts as a result of the way in which he — (laughter) — it was like an ideal — I by no means noticed something like that.

No, wasn’t it wonderful? And he was standing up. I instructed him — I stated, I am not going to ask — as a result of it was shot from a helicopter. I stated, I can’t ask if that is you, but when it was, I am very impressed since you’re higher than any gymnast I’ve ever seen.

Q What do you imply by “artificial Democratic barrier”? I imply, you and Putin cannot heat up due to this investigation? Or what —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s a man-made barrier that places in the way in which by the Democrats. It’s a pretend barrier. There was no collusion. Everybody is aware of there was no collusion. I imply, you converse to those individuals — I noticed Dianne Feinstein the opposite day and I respect her. She was on tv the opposite day saying there is not any collusion. The Democrats — the Republicans come out screaming it, however the Democrats come out, and so they say, “No, there’s no collusion.” There isn’t any collusion. There’s nothing.

And I believe it is a disgrace that one thing like that may destroy a vital potential relationship between two international locations which are crucial international locations. Russia may actually badist us. And the Democrats needed to have relationship with Russia, however they could not do it as a result of they did not have the expertise to do it. They did not have the chemistry to do it. They did not have what it takes to do it. You know, there’s a expertise to that.

But I believe Putin and I — President Putin and I might have an excellent relationship, and that might be nice for each international locations. And it will take a variety of the hazard out as a result of we’re actually — you realize, it is a harmful time. This is not small stuff. This is a really harmful time. And having an excellent relationship, or perhaps a good relationship, with the President of Russia — Hillary tried it, and he or she failed. Nobody mentions that. They act like, you realize — it is so horrible. She did that reset button; it was a joke. But she tried and he or she failed.

Obama tried and he failed. Couldn’t have it, as a result of he did not have chemistry. They did not have the appropriate chemistry. And you realize what? I perceive that, as a result of there are some individuals I haven’t got chemistry with. Let’s see, a few of you’re proper right here. (Laughter.) There are some individuals I do not — you realize, typically if you do not have chemistry with any person, you do not.

But Obama didn’t have the appropriate chemistry with Putin. And Hillary was manner over her head.

MS. SANDERS: Let’s take another after which allow them to have lunch.

Q Were you in a position to get any commitments — in terms of the commerce stability, a number of the points you discuss like mental property theft — did he make any commitments there to make adjustments?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, the mental property — you are speaking about $300 billion a 12 months. It’s great. We talked about it. But I stated, we’re mates, however it is a totally different administration than you’ve got had for the final 30 years. For the final 30 years, China — and, in all equity, and different international locations. Look, we’ve a $71 billion commerce deficit with Mexico. We have a $70 billion commerce deficit with Japan. We have a $30 billion commerce deficit with South Korea. I may undergo an entire record. There are few international locations we’ve a surplus with, and people international locations it is like a two-dollar surplus. It’s disgraceful.

And I do not blame any of these international locations. I blame the people who we had representing us who did not know what they have been doing. Because they need to have by no means let it occur.

Q I might prefer to ask a query on AT&T and CNN. Do you need AT&T to promote CNN for the —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I did not make the choice. That was made by a person who’s really a really revered individual — a really, very revered individual.

I did make a remark prior to now as to what I believe. I do really feel that it’s best to have as many information shops as you’ll be able to, particularly since so lots of them are pretend. This manner, a minimum of you will get your phrase out. But I do imagine it’s best to have as many information shops as you’ll be able to.

Now, with that being stated, I did not make a press release on it, however I made that badertion lengthy earlier than on the very early half. So we’ll see how that — it can in all probability find yourself being possibly litigation, possibly not. We’ll see the way it all performs out.

Q Did you speak to Xi about opening China to Twitter and different social media?

THE PRESIDENT: About what?

Q Opening China to Twitter.

THE PRESIDENT: I discussed it very briefly. Honestly, it wasn’t primary on my record. Number one on my record with him was North Korea and commerce. Those are the 2 I actually spoke. I discussed it, you realize, briefly, however we’ll speak. I’ll have loads of time to speak. He’ll come right here subsequent time.

This all began in Florida, and it is an excellent feeling to have that sort of a relationship the place you’ll be able to actually badist your nation. Because we will actually badist our nation, and he can actually badist his nation.

But we will be very powerful on commerce. This isn’t going to be prefer it was prior to now. I did inform him that. This isn’t going to be the outdated days. This is an entire totally different factor happening.

And, you realize, it is not acceptable what’s been taking place with commerce, usually. China, sure — however usually. And I can consider nearly no examples the place it is good. It’s all unhealthy. We had the worst negotiators, whether or not it is the Iran deal or every other factor. We had the worst — our commerce offers are so unhealthy. Last 12 months, we misplaced $800 billion, proper? Yeah. $800 [billion], roughly. Check it. But roughly $800 billion on commerce. Why?

Q You put your individual guys in there now. So what did you get from him?

THE PRESIDENT: I’ve an excellent crew. Bob Lighthizer. Bob Lighthizer is — he’ll city. And he works with me. He works with me. But Bob goes to city.

So I hope you are all having fun with yourselves. Tonight we will Hanoi.

Q Any highlights from APEC? Do you have got any asks for the opposite international locations?

THE PRESIDENT: I believe the APEC was simply — good, very collegial.

Q Did anybody ask you for particular issues?

THE PRESIDENT: No, however I instructed them we will have a lot harder commerce insurance policies now, as a result of, you realize, they’ve limitations. We do not. I am not solely speaking about tariffs. They have non-tariff limitations, and we do not. I stated, you bought to take away them.

Good to be with you. Good to be with you.

We’ll speak to you —

Q Thank you for coming again.

THE PRESIDENT: I will see you in Hanoi. Are you all going up?

Q Yes, sir.

Q We are.

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