NUANCED

Trump on Why He Stopped Questioning Putin: ‘What Do You Do? End Up in a Fistfight?’

President Trump has provided a detailed account of his confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit over alleged Russian election interference. The White House on Thursday released comments Trump made a day earlier to reporters on Air Force One after the president reportedly asked why his remarks had not been published. Trump said he was direct with Putin when they met in Hamburg last week, but after twice asking the Russian president if he was involved in election interference and getting the same answer, he simply couldn’t push the subject any further. “What do you do? End up in a fistfight?” he said. “He said, ‘Absolutely not. I was not involved.’ He was very strong on it. I then said to him, in a totally different way, ‘Were you involved with the meddling?’ He said, ‘I was not—absolutely not.’” Putin then changed the topic to Syria, Trump said.