Excerpt from Updated Transcript of President Trump's Remarks on Air Force on En Route to Hanoi

from pool report 12 by Ashley Parker, Nov. 11, 2017

Q: How were your discussions with Vladimir Putin?
A: Yes, we issued a joint statement, you will see it in a little while. It’s going to save tremendous numbers of lives and we did it very quickly, we agreed very quickly. As you I know we saw each other last night just for picture, that was the first time. And then today we had a round table with numerous countries. And we spoke during that round table. We seem to have a very good feeling for each other, a good relationship considering we don’t know each other well. I think it’s a very good relationship.

We had two or three very short conversations, but during those conversations we talked about Syria. And we issued a joint statement, just approved, and I think people are going to be extremely happy with it and also very impressed with it.
Q: Did Russia’s attempts to meddle in US elections come up in the conversations?
A: He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times.
Q: Today?
A: I just asked him again. He said he as absolutely did not meddle in our election, he did not do what they are saying he did.
Q: Do you believe him?
A: Well, look, I can’t stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, to be honest with you. I would rather have, I would rather him— get to work with him on the Ukraine rather than standing and arguing about whether or not— because that whole thing was set up by the Democrats. I mean, they ought to Look at Podesta, they ought to look at all the things that they have done with the phony dossier. Those are the big events. Those are the big events. But Putin said he did not do what they said he did. And there are those that say, if he did do it, he wouldn’t have gotten caught, alright, which is a very interesting statement. But we have a good feeling toward getting things done. If we had a relationship with Russia, that would be a good thing. In fact, it would be a great thing, not a bad thing, because he could really help us on North Korea. We have a big problem with North Korea and China is helping us. And because of the lack of the relationship that we have with Russia, because of this artificial thing that’s happening with this Democratic-inspired thing. We could really be helped a lot, tremendously, with Russia having to do with North Korea. You know you are talking about millions and millions of lives. This isn’t baby stuff, this is the real deal. And if Russia helped us in addition to China, that problem would go away a lot faster.
Q: When did you bring up the issue of election meddling? Did you ask him a question?
A: 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. But he says I didn’t do that. I think he is very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth. Don’t forget. All he said was he never did that, he didn’t do that. I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country. Because again, again, if we had a relationship with Russia, North Korea, which is our single biggest problem right now—North Korea, it would be helped a lot. I think I’m doing very well with respect to China. They have cut off financing, they have cut off bank lines, they’ve cut off lots of oil and lots of other things, lots of trade and it’s having a big impact. But Russia, on the other hand, may be making up the difference. And if they are, that’s not a good thing. So having a relationship with Russia would be a great thing—not a good thing, it would be a great thing—especially as it relates to North Korea. And I’ll say this: Hillary had her stupid reset button that she spelled the word wrong, but she does not have what it takes to have that kind of relationship where you could call or you could do something and they would pull back from North Korea, or they would pull back from Syria, or maybe pull back from Ukraine. I mean, if we could solve the Ukraine problem. But this is really an artificial barrier that’s put in front of us for solving problems with Russia. He says that very strongly, he really seems to be insulted by it and he says he didn’t do it.
Q: Even if he didn’t bring it up one-one-one, do you believe him?
 I think that he is very, very strong in the fact that he didn’t do it. And then you look and you look at what's going on with Podesta, and you look at what's going on with the server from the DNC and why didn't the FBI take it? Why did they leave it? Why did a third party look at the server and not the FBI? You look at all of this stuff, and you says, what's going on here? And the you hear it's 17 agencies. Well, it's three. And one is Brennan. And one is, whatever. I mean, give me a break. They're political hacks. So you look at it, and then you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey's proven now to be a liar and he's proven to be a leaker. So you look at that. And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with that. Now, you are not going to get into an argument, you are going to start talking about Syria and the Ukraine.

Response to Question in Joint Press Conference with President Trần Đại Quan at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi

Nov. 12, 2017
White House Transcript

Q    There was some uncertainty that brewed back in the United States over your statement that you said, "When he tells me that, I believe that he means it."  That was taken in some circles, including Senator John McCain, to think that you believe that he is saying he did not interfere in the election.  Could you, once and for all, definitively, sir -- yes or no -- say whether or not you believe that President Putin and/or Russia interfered in the election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP:  What I said there, I'm surprised that there's any conflict on this.  What I said there is that I believe he believes that, and that's very important for somebody to believe.  I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election.
As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership.  I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies.  I've worked with them very strongly.  There weren’t seventeen as was previously reported; there were actually four.  But they were saying there was seventeen; there were actually four.  But as currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.
Now, at the same time, I want to be able -- because I think it's very important -- to get along with Russia, to get along with China, to get along with Vietnam, to get along with lots of countries, because we have a lot of things we have to solve.  And, frankly, Russia and China in particular can help us with the North Korea problem, which is one of our truly great problems.
     So I'm not looking to stand and start arguing with somebody when there's reporters all around and cameras recording and seeing our conversation.  I think it was very obvious to everybody.  I believe that President Putin really feels -- and he feels strongly -- that he did not meddle in our election.  What he believes is what he believes. 
What I believe is that we have to get to work.  And I think everybody understood this that heard the answer.  We have to get to work to solve Syria, to solve North Korea, to solve Ukraine, to solve terrorism. 
And, you know, people don't realize Russia has been very, very heavily sanctioned.  They were sanctioned at a very high level, and that took place very recently.  It's now time to get back to healing a world that is shattered and broken.  Those are very important things.  And I feel that having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, is an asset to the world and an asset to our country, not a liability.
And, by the way, Hillary Clinton had the reset button.  She wanted to get back together with Russia.  She even spelled "reset" wrong.  That's how it started, and then it got worse.
President Obama wanted to get along with Russia, but the chemistry wasn't there.  Getting along with other nations is a good thing, not a bad thing -- believe me.  It's a good thing, not a bad thing.
Okay, second.