President Trump in a tweet early Thursday acknowledged for the first time that Russia helped “me to get elected,” and then quickly retracted the claim outside the White House minutes later.
“No, Russia did not help me get elected,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for Colorado Springs, contradicting his earlier tweet. “I got me elected.”
Twenty minutes earlier, Trump tweeted, “I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.”
American intelligence agencies and federal prosecutors have long concluded that Russia tried to influence voters. Trump has refused to publicly say that Russia helped him win the presidency in 2016 through its election interference.
In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month, Trump said he declined to confront him on election interference and that they both dismissed the “Russian Hoax.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his comments on Wednesday stressed that his investigation uncovered “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election,” something he said “deserves the attention of every American.”