Putin claims Trump is 'satisfied' with his answers on alleged election meddling

Putin also said Trump in person is "very different" than on TV.

ByABC News
July 8, 2017, 3:59 PM

— -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the G-20 summit Saturday he believes U.S. President Donald Trump is "satisfied" with his answers to questions about Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Putin spoke to reporters about the face-to-face meeting he had with Trump the day before at the summit in Hamburg, Germany. The Russian leader said Trump brought up the alleged election meddling and asked "many questions" about the topic.

"I answered all these questions as much as I could. It seems to me that he took note of this and agreed," Putin said in his native tongue at the televised press conference, which was translated by Russian news agency Interfax.

"He really was interested in some details. I, as far as I could, answered all this in detail," Putin added, when pressed further by reporters about the meeting with Trump. "He asked me, I answered. He asked clarifying questions, I explained. He appeared to me satisfied with these answers."

Putin said he reiterated to the U.S. president that there was no basis for such allegations.

"Our position is well-known," Putin told reporters. "There is no ground to believe that Russia interfered in the U.S. electoral process."

The two leaders have agreed to work together on cybersecurity and to prevent interference in countries' internal affairs, according to Putin.

The Russian leader noted that he found Trump to be "very different" in person from how he seems on television and that he hopes the friendly encounter will help build better relations between the two countries.

"Mr Trump's television image is very different from the real person," Putin told reporters, according to a translated transcript from the Kremlin. "He is a very down-to-earth and direct person, and he has an absolutely adequate attitude towards the person he is talking with; he analyzes things pretty fast and answers the questions he is asked or new ones that arise in the course of the discussion."

At a televised press conference Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Trump raised the issue of election meddling. He said the U.S. president accepted Putin’s “clear statements” that “Russian leadership hadn’t interfered.”

But a senior White House official, when asked by ABC News whether Lavrov's description of Trump’s accepting Putin's denial of election interference was true, said, “No,” without providing further information.

During an off-camera briefing Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that the alleged election interference was the first subject Trump raised at the meeting with the Russian leader.

"The president opened the meeting by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in 2016 election. Putin denied such involvement, as he has done in the past," Tillerson said. "The two leaders agreed this is of substantial hindrance. They agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the U.S. and our democratic process as well as other countries.”

In January, just weeks before his inauguration, Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama were separately briefed on a classified intelligence report on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. A declassified version was released afterward that said Putin ordered a campaign to influence the contest between Trump, the Republican candidate, and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

"We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency," the report reads, citing the Russian government's "longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order."

"We further assess Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the report continues, saying Putin nursed a "grudge" against Clinton "for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging."

Trump said in January that he accepted the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia was behind the massive alleged hacking of political organizations and individuals during the U.S. presidential race. But on Thursday, he appeared to cast doubt again on the conclusion, saying before a major speech in Poland that there could have been others involved and that "nobody really knows for sure."

"I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure," Trump said in his first press conference overseas as president.

He also again placed blame on Obama for not taking stronger action to confront Russia over its alleged election meddling, accusing the former president of not taking action because "he thought Clinton was going to win."

ABC News' Alexander Mallin, Jordyn Phelps, Kirit Radia, Patrick Reevell, Dakshayani Shankar and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.

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