- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2018

Standing beside Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump on Monday blasted special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of election hacking for putting “a cloud” over his presidency.

“The probe is a disaster for our country. It kept us apart,” Mr. Trump said at a press conference following a summit with Mr. Putin. “There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it.”

Mr. Trump provoked criticism that he was disparaging the U.S. when he made similar comments in a tweet just hours before the summit in Helsinki.

At the press conference, Mr. Trump said the Mueller probe stemmed from Democrats making excuses for Hillary Clinton’s upset election loss.

“It was a clean campaign. I beat Hillary Clinton easily,” said Mr. Trump. “It is a shame that there can be even a little bit of a cloud over it.”

However, Mr. Trump blamed both the U.S. and Russia for the bad blood between the two countries.

“I hold both countries responsible. We’ve both been foolish,” he said, adding that the summit was a first step toward an improved relationship.

Mr. Trump also said he confronted Mr. Putin about Russia hacking the 2016 presidential election.

As he has in the past, Mr. Putin denied Russia was involved.

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