United States President Donald Trump said on Monday that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had privately made an “incredible offer” to help American investigators prosecute 12 Russians, whom a grand jury last week charged with hacking the Democratic Party’s computer networks during the 2016 US elections.
“He [Putin] offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people,” Trump said during a news conference in Helsinki following his summit with Putin, AP reported. “I think that’s an incredible offer, OK?” However, Trump did not reveal the details of the offer.
The charges against the Russians were filed by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as Russian collusion with Donald Trump’s campaign team.
The United States Justice Department said officers of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, “in their official capacities engaged in a sustained effort to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton”. However, Moscow claimed that there was no evidence to indicate that the 12 had links to the Russian military intelligence.
On Monday, Putin once again rejected allegations of Russian meddling in the elections. “The Russian state has never interfered, and is never going to interfere in external elections,” Putin said during the joint press conference with Trump. He, however, acknowledged that he wanted Trump to win because “he spoke about normalising Russian relations”.
In turn, Trump said: “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”