Trump says Putin insulted by US election meddling claim

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International desk, November 11: President Vladimir Putin feels insulted by allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election, Donald Trump has said after meeting him briefly at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam.“You can only ask so many times… he said he absolutely did not meddle in our election,” the US president said.

Mr Putin later dismissed the allegations as “political infighting”.

The US intelligence community has already concluded that Russia tried to sway the poll in favour of Mr Trump.

The US justice department has appointed special investigator Robert Mueller to examine any possible collusion involving Mr Trump’s team, and legal action has already been taken against several former aides.

What are the allegations against Russia?

President Trump has refused to acknowledge a reported assessment by the CIA and other intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the run-up to last year’s presidential election.

The contents of the emails, passed to Wikileaks and posted online, were embarrassing to the Democrats and shook up the presidential campaign, which ended in defeat for Hillary Clinton.

In addition to the Mueller inquiry, congressional committees have been set up to carry out their own investigations.

Relations between the US and Russia have been strained for years, with the Kremlin long accusing Washington of seeking to sway elections in Russia and other ex-Soviet states including Ukraine and Georgia.

While Russian hackers are widely suspected of involvement, there has been no conclusive link to the Kremlin.

Denying that Russia had tried to interfere last year by fostering contacts with Mr Trump’s campaign, Mr Putin told reporters in Vietnam: “Everything about the so-called Russian dossier in the US is a manifestation of a continuing domestic political struggle.”

What does Mr Trump say to the allegations?

He said he believed Mr Putin had been “very insulted by” the allegations and that was “not a good thing” for America.

“He [Putin] said he didn’t meddle,” he added. “I asked him again.”

Mr Trump has consistently denied any collusion with Russia during the election campaign, at one point tweeting: “Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!”

Mr Trump and Mr Putin met for the first time in July at a G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg. In Da Nang they were seen chatting briefly on three occasions within 24 hours during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit.

However, they had no formal bilateral meeting, with Mr Putin blaming it on scheduling and protocol.

Source: Agencies