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Trump says, then denies, Russia helped him get elected

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U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that Russia helped him defeat his Democratic challenger in the 2016 presidential race, then quickly retracted the statement. reports citing Turkish media.

"Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax," Trump fumed on Twitter in one of several posts, referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's concluded probe. "And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected."

The president has not deleted the post, but he has previously and repeatedly denied that Russia helped his electoral prospects and continued those denials when asked about the social media post by reporters.

"You know who got me elected? I got me elected," he said. "Russia didn’t help me at all. Russia, if anything, I think, helped the other side."

U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia's sweeping campaign was designed to undercut, not assist, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in her effort to win the White House during the 2016 election.

Trump has vacillated on accepting the assessment even as his top intelligence officials have publicly stood by their findings.

Mueller on Wednesday offered his first public comments following his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, concluding his probe and shuttering the special counsel's office while insisting that if his office had evidence which clearly showed the president did not commit a crime, "we would have said that".

"We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime," he said.

Trump continued to assail Mueller, whom he has accused of leading a "witch hunt" against him, repeating claims that the former FBI director had conflicts of interest.

"I think Mueller is a true Never Trumper," the president said. "He’s somebody that dislikes Donald Trump."

2019.05.30 / 23:57
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