Trump says Putin insulted by US election meddling claim

President Vladimir Putin felt insulted by allegations of Russian interference in the US election, Donald Trump has said after meeting him briefly at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam.

“You can only ask so many times… he said he absolutely did not meddle in our election,” the US president said.

Mr Putin later described the allegations of meddling as “absurd”.

The justice department is investigating the claims, as well as alleged collusion involving Mr Trump’s team.

Several key former aides have already been named in connection with the inquiry.

George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of meetings with alleged go-betweens for Russia.

Former campaign manager Paul Manafort and an associate are also currently under house arrest on charges of money laundering which are unrelated to the election, but linked to the investigation.

Mr Trump said on Saturday he had had “two or three” brief conversations with his Russian counterpart at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit in the port city of Da Nang.

“He (Putin) said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again,” he told reporters on Air Force One as he headed to Hanoi.

He said he believed Mr Putin was “very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country”.

Mr Putin later said that claims of Russian interference through contacts with Mr Trump’s campaign team were “fantasies”.

“Everything about the so-called Russian dossier in the US is a manifestation of continuing domestic political struggle,” he told reporters.

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