In a bizarre press conference in Helsinki today, both President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign and reiterated their desire for closer relations.
When AP reporter Jonathan Lemire asked Putin whether he has compromising information on the U.S. president (such as the salacious allegations outlined in the infamous dossier), Putin didn’t deny the claim, simply replying: “I did hear these rumors. When President Trump visited Moscow back then, I didn’t even know he was in Moscow . . . Nobody informed me that he was in Moscow . . . Please disregard these issues.”
And then Trump chimed in, “If they had it, it would have been out long ago,” finishing the press conference.
Other noteworthy moments during the conference included Trump saying that he believes Putin’s denial of interference in the U.S. election, despite the recent U.S. indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee: “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
And even more bizarrely, Putin offered to assist special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of the Trump campaign’s Russian ties. The Russian leader offered to interrogate the indicted Russian officials with Mueller’s staff present, but only if the U.S. interrogates American law enforcement and intelligence officials with Russians present about their “illegal actions” in Russia.