- President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted about "Russia helping me get elected."
- The president has previously denied evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign.
- Shortly after the tweet he again said that Russia did not help him get elected and that the credit belongs to him alone.
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President Donald Trump in a tweet on Thursday acknowledged "Russia helping me get elected" to the presidency in 2016, seemingly a first for him.
The president has spent years either denying Russia interfered in the election or that it had any effect on his victory.
The message was part of a thread distancing himself from Russia.
Trump mentioned Russian help in the context of having "nothing to do with" it — but it is nonetheless a significant departure from his claims that help from Russia did not even take place.
Shortly after posting the tweet, Trump again denied that Russia helped his election victory.
He told reporters at the White House: "No Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia did not help me at all."
He did not explain why he had tweeted about Russian help if he does not believe it took place.
The tweets were part of a series in which the president renewed his attacks on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s recently concluded probe into Russian interference, and allegations that Trump obstructed justice.
"The Greatest Presidential Harassment in history. After spending $40,000,000 over two dark years, with unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation, highly conflicted Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!" tweeted the president.
"Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax…And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist," Trump continued.
Trump in 2016 famously refused to accept that Russians were responsible for stealing Democrat emails, claiming that the hacker "could also be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."
Standing next to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the June 2018 Helsinki summit, Trump attracted fierce bipartisan criticism after appearing to accept Putin’s denial that Russia interfered. US, British and other intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia did.
He has also denied the interference campaign had any influence on his win, tweeting in April "Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing!
"Most importantly, the vote was not affected."
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