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World leaders posed for a photo while attending the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Da Nang. President Trump and Vladimir Putin can be seen posing side by side.
USA TODAY

HANOI, Vietnam — President Trump suggested Saturday that he believes Vladimir Putin’s claims that Russia did not interfere in last year’s presidential election, trashing U.S. officials who have said Moscow meddled.

Trump singled out former CIA Director John Brennan, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and former FBI Director James Comey, all of whom have cited evidence about Russia election activity in 2016.

“They’re political hacks,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he’s proven to be a leaker.”

Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May is the subject of an obstruction of justice investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office. It is also probing Russian election interference and any links to Trump campaign associates.

Hours later, early Sunday morning in Hanoi, Trump tweeted out a defense of his comments, saying it was important to have a good diplomatic relationship with Putin and Russia.