President Trump joked with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Russia’s interference in US elections and made light of “getting rid” of journalists during the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
During a photo op with the two leaders Friday, Trump was asked by an NBC News journalist whether he would tell Putin not to meddle in the 2020 US elections.
Trump replied with a grin, “Yes, of course, I will.”
“Don’t meddle in the election, President,” Trump said dismissively.
“Don’t meddle in the election,” he repeated while pointing his finger at Putin.
Putin grinned back.
Here’s that moment again.
Here’s a dramatic reenactment of his legit warning to Putin.
The Mueller report and American intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of helping Trump beat Hillary Clinton.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference also identified numerous links between people with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign, “although the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges,” the report said.
Mueller, in his only public statement after the report, said Russia “launched a concerted attack on our political system” and that there were “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.”
Former US president Jimmy Carter on Friday suggested that Trump was an illegitimate president, according to a USA Today journalist present at a human rights conference where he was speaking.
Carter said that a full investigation “would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016 ... He was put into office because the Russians interfered.”
Trump has been consistently slammed for his soft stance toward Russia’s meddling and his cozying up to Putin.
At the G-20 summit, the two leaders also expressed their shared disdain for journalists, joking at the expense of reporters during the photo op.
“Get rid of them,” Trump said. “Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do,” Trump said.
Putin replied in English, “We also have. It’s the same.”
Dozens of Russian journalists have been murdered in recent years, many of whom held the government and other powerful institutions accountable in their work.
Trump has frequently declared that the media is the “enemy of the people,” and journalists are often faced with vitriolic attacks from his supporters at rallies and threats of violence.