President Trump today denied ever dismissing allegations of Russian election interference as a hoax, two days after 13 Russians were charged with using fraud to try to influence the vote, the Daily Beast reports.
“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer,’” Trump tweeted. “The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia—it never did,” he wrote.
The president has repeatedly stressed that there was “no collusion” after special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment on Friday appeared to confirm a Russian conspiracy to meddle in U.S. elections. The president’s latest comments on Russia seem to be a far cry from his earlier remarks on claims of Kremlin interference, however. After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last fall, Trump told reporters he believed Putin’s assurances that the country did not interfere in U.S. elections. “He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. … I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” he said at the time.