President Donald Trump is tweeting that “it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” after his meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Trump says after returning from a world leaders’ summit in Germany he “strongly pressed” Putin twice over Russian meddling in the 2016 election during their lengthy meeting.
He says Putin “vehemently denied” the conclusions of American intelligence agencies.
Trump is not saying, though, whether he believes Putin, tweeting that he’s “already given my opinion.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov first told reporters in Germany on Friday that Trump had accepted Putin’s assurances that Russia hadn’t meddled – an assertion Putin repeated Saturday after the Group of 20 summit.
“He asked questions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was satisfied with the answers,” Putin said.
US officials have not pushed back on that account, even when pressed directly.
Speaking briefly with reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday evening, both Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster punted when given the chance to correct the record.
“You know, we’re not going to make comments about what other people say,” said Mnuchin.
“President Trump will be happy to make statements himself about that.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who participated in the Trump-meeting, had suggested Friday that the two sides had, in effect, agreed to disagree on the meddling question so that they could move forward to address other pressing issues, like the civil war in Syria.