Helsinki summit: Trump says no reason for Russia to meddle

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Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at Helsinki summit. 16 July 2018 Image copyright EPA
Image caption The two leaders held talks accompanied only by translators

US President Donald Trump has defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election.

After a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote.

Mr Putin reiterated that Russia had never interfered in US affairs.

The two men held nearly two hours of face-to-face talks in Helsinki on Monday.

At a news conference after the summit, President Trump was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to the allegations of meddling in the elections.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it should be,” he replied.

US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.

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