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Trump Dismisses Impact Of Russian Hackers On 2016 Election


U.S. President Donald Trump said he will not accept the blame if his Republican Party loses control of the House of Representatives. (file photo)

U.S. President Donald Trump has dismissed the impact of Russian hackers' actions on the result of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, claiming that their number was very small and that some of them backed his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

In an interview with the Associated Press on October 16, Trump was asked about the role of the hackers who U.S. intelligence agencies and prosecutors say interfered in the election he won.

He said: "Do you know these Russian hackers you're talking about from Moscow? They have nothing to do with me. How many people are they? Only 28 people?"

Trump added, "Some of them supported Hillary Clinton," without giving an explanation, then repeated, "They had nothing to do with me."

Trump also defended the actions of his son Donald Trump Jr., who met at Trump Tower in New York in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer who alleged to have had damaging information on Clinton.

Trump called his son a "good young guy" who did what any political aide would have done.

In the wide-ranging interview three weeks before midterm congressional elections, Trump said he will not accept the blame if his Republican Party loses control of the House of Representatives -- the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress -- arguing that his campaigning and endorsements have helped Republican candidates.

His comments came after Nancy Pelosi, the senior Democrat in the House, said on October 16 that she was confident the Democrats will regain a majority of seats in the October 6 elections.

Amid calls for his administration to pressure Saudi Arabia to account for the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump offered a defense for the U.S. ally, warning against a rush to judgment.

U.S. resident Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom's leadership, was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Unnamed Turkish officials have been quoted as saying a search on October 16 produced further evidence that he was killed there.

"Well, I think we have to find out what happened first," Trump said. "Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent."

Trump also said that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who was a constant target of Khashoggi's criticism, had denied knowing what happened to the journalist.

With reporting by AP
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