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GOVERNMENT DENIES KNOWLEDGE: Putin dismisses allegations of election meddling during one on one with Trump

HELSINKI — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday denied allegations that he interfered in the 2016 U.S. election during a face to face meeting with American president Donald Trump.

Speaking at a press conference following the meeting in Finland, Putin said Trump raised the issue of election meddling but stood firm on his stance that he had done nothing wrong.

“I had to reiterate things I said several times, including during our personal contacts, that the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs including election process,” Putin said. “Any specific material, if such things arise, we are ready to analyze together.”

The Russian president, who has remained at the center of controversy since Hillary Clinton’s loss to Republican challenger Trump in 2016, went on to say that the Russian government would be willing to collaborate with the US to help “improve cybersecurity”.

Putin’s claims come just days after special counsel Robert Mueller’s team indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on charges of alleged hacking of Democratic officials during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Despite Mueller’s indictments, Trump continues to slam allegations of Russian meddling as part of a “witch hunt”.

“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” the president tweeted just prior to his much anticipated meeting with Putin.

For his part, Putin said he looks forward to working with the 45th president, and referred to the cold war a “thing of the past”.

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