President Trump says Vladimir Putin has told him there was no Russian meddling in last year's election—and he believes the Russian leader. "He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did," Trump said Saturday after meeting Putin briefly during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Danang, Vietnam. "Every time he sees me, he said: 'I didn't do that,'" Trump said, per the BBC. "And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it."
Trump made it clear that he trusted Putin's word more than that of former FBI Director James Comey and other intelligence officials who have accused Russia of election interference, the New York Times reports. "I mean, give me a break—they're political hacks," Trump told reporters before boarding a plane to Hanoi. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a great, great thing," Trump said. "This artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way, and that's a shame, because people will die." Putin told reporters that it was impossible to hold a longer meeting with Trump because of scheduling conflicts —and said the people who failed to arrange one will be punished. He added that he is looking forward to "turning the page" on relations with the US. Trump is a "cultured person, and comfortable discussing matters related to work," Putin said.