President Donald Trump appeared to admit for the first time Thursday – intentionally or not – that Russia helped his election in 2016.
Minutes later, he rowed back on that assertion.
Early Thursday, before departing for Colorado where he will deliver the commencement address to the United States Air Force Academy, Trump posted a Tweet arguing that Democrats have made Russian interference a central issue of his presidency.
“And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected,” Trump wrote. “It was a crime that didn’t exist.”
Minutes later, as he boarded Marine One for the trip to Colorado, Trump returned to his more standard talking points on the issue.
“No, Russia did not help me get elected,” he told reporters.
Trump has long denied that Russian interference in the 2016 election affected the outcome of the election. In the past, he has swung between denying and haltingly acknowledging that Russian attempted to interfere, despite the assessments of intelligence agencies.
SOURCE: John Fritze and David Jackson