Julie Pace - Washington Bureau Chief for The Associated Press.
HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Putin says he thinks Trump believes his denial of Russian meddling in US vote, but better to ask Trump himself.
If there were a Trump press conference today, we would indeed like to ask this question.
From Washington Post:
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov maintained that President Trump dismissed U.S. intel pointing to Russian interference.
Trump does not deny Lavrov's account, that he accepts Putin's denials about Russian interference.
Jim Acosta -CNN's Senior White House Correspondent
Senior admin official tells me POTUS did not accept Putin claim of non-interference in last year's election.
The two accounts of the meeting — one from Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and the other by the American secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, the only two officials in the room besides the two presidents — differed in some important details.
Notably, Mr. Tillerson said that Mr. Trump had confronted Mr. Putin about Russian interference in the 2016 election during a “robust and lengthy” discussion. In Mr. Lavrov’s account, Mr. Trump accepted Mr. Putin’s denial.
“Believe Lavrov,” Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters on Saturday when asked about the divergent accounts. Some Russian officials expressed particular delight at that version.
Richard N. Haass - President, Council on Foreign Relation
Differing US, Russian accounts of Trump-Putin bilateral is one reason you have an NSC aide attend important meetings as note taker
I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I've already given my opinion.....
This confirms that Trump in some form accepted Putin's denial, since Trump's opinion didn't change.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson,the only high-level American official allowed in the room with the president,had urged his boss to hit Mr. Putin hard on the issue - but told an associate he was still stunned that Mr.Trump would begin the meeting,unceremoniously,by saying to the Russian leader - "I’m going to get this out of the way: Did you do this?"
"I'm going to get this out of the way" ... not exactly the words you use when talking about a top priority.