Trump Opens Meeting with Putin with US Election Hacking Issue

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( — July 9, 2017) — Among a number of burning issues between Washington and Moscow, the first question US President Donald Trump asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was about Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential election.

Referring to the US intelligence report blaming Russia of hacking the US presidential election, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the two leaders “had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject,” Russia Today reports.

Tillerson said that President Trump “pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement.”

The conclusion on that subject remains unreached, because there is no substantial evidence to accuse Russia, only allegations, which Putin has been adamantly denying. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said President Trump had accepted Putin’s denial.

Given that the US has failed to present any substantial proof that Russia was behind the alleged hack-attack and that Moscow has resolutely denied its involvement, Trump “accepts those statements,” said Lavrov, who was also present at the meeting.

“President Trump said he heard President Putin’s clear statement that [the allegations] are not true, and that the Russian government has not interfered [in the US election], and [Trump] accepts those statements,” Lavrov said.

Days ahead of the meeting with Putin, Trump offered an ambivalent answer to questions about the US intelligence report, at a news conference in Poland.

“I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement,” Trump said. “Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.”

The meeting was scheduled to last only 30 minutes, but Trump and Putin talked for two hours, which was why Putin was late for his next meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. When he arrived, Putin apologized to Abe also on Trump’s behalf.

“Both I and [the US president] owe you an apology,” Putin said.

Presidents Trump and Putin had their first tete-a-tete meeting during the G20 Summit in Hamburg that brought together 20 most influential world leaders to discuss the future of the planet. Massive protests took place during the summit in Germany. Anti-globalists, anarchists and common people took to the street to voice their protest against leaders for steering the world into chaos.