President Trump speaking in Vietnam Sunday clarified his comments on whether he believes Russia meddled in the U.S. 2016 presidential election, saying “I believe in our intel agencies.”
Trump had told reporters on Air Force One Saturday that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says he didn’t meddle in the election.
“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said earlier in the weekend.
The comment quickly became the subject of backlash, prompting Trump to clarify the comments in a joint press conference with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang on Sunday morning local time.
“What I said is, I believe [Putin] believes that,” Trump said. “I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies.”
“I believe in our intel agencies. I’ve worked with them very strongly,” Trump added.