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Trump: People Are Going To Die Over Russia Probe

President Donald Trump on Saturday called into question the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election and said that “people will die” as a result of the intense focus on the issue.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Hanoi, Vietnam, Trump suggested he takes the Russian president at his word when he denies directing the influence campaign.

“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said. ”He says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”

Trump then dismissed the meddling allegations as driven by Democrats, warning that the heavy focus on the issue would put lives at risk.

“This artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way and that’s a shame because people will die because of it,” he said. “And it’s a pure hit job.”

“Everybody knows there was no collusion,” he continued. “I think it’s a shame that something like this can destroy a very important potential relationship between two countries that are very important countries Russia could really help us.”

American intelligence agencies have said Russia interfered in the election with the goal of boosting Trump and defeating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The agencies have also said they have “high confidence” that Putin directed the effort.

But Trump sided with Putin again and defended the Russian president’s denial that he had a role in the effort to influence the election.

“He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did,” Trump said.

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