During Monday’s Helsinki summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that he had wanted President Donald Trump to win the election, despite the Russian leader’s insistence that he did not meddle in the 2016 election.

Asked if he wanted “President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” Putin responded, “Yes, I did. Yes, I did,” in response to the former question.


The Russian leader attributed his political support to Trump’s promise to restore the U.S. relationship with Russia, as outlined in his campaign platform. “Isn’t it natural to be sympathetic towards a person who is willing to restore the relationship with our country, who wants to work with us?” asked Putin.


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Both leaders still maintained, however, that “there was no collusion at all,” as stated by Trump. Putin also insisted that the accusations were “utter nonsense,” adding that “there’s no evidence [of collusion] when it comes to the actual facts.”


This comes in the wake of a series of accusations against the Russian government concerning its secret involvement in the U.S. political arena. Just prior to the summit, 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for allegedly hacking into the DNC in a “sustained effort” to meddle in the 2016 election. Another Russian agent was later charged with using the NRA and other conservative groups to establish ties with key Republican political figures and set up a meeting between Putin and Trump in the run up to the election.

Trump has received backlash from both sides of the aisle for his conciliatory attitude when handling Putin. On Monday, Republican Sen. John McCain referred to the president’s behavior as “disgraceful,” meanwhile Sen. Jeff Flake called the situation “shameful.”

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