WATCH: David Sanger Recalls Call With Donald Trump in Which He Said He Was ‘Impressed’ By Vladimir Putin’s Argument for Why Russia Could Not Have Meddled in Election

Of course.

As stories of the lengths President Donald Trump has gone to conceal records of his private discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin continue to unsettle the American public, New York Times reporter David Sanger told CNN why Trump was hesitant to side with U.S. intelligence in its belief that Putin acted to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The reason? Putin told him.

After his December 2017 meeting with Putin in Germany, Trump called Sanger. According to Sanger, Trump defended Putin against the findings of his own intelligence officials, echoing sentiments expressed to him by Putin: that Russia couldn’t have done it, because Russian officials wouldn’t have gotten caught. Trump also expressed doubt of the intelligence agencies’ findings because they came from former FBI director James Comey (whom the President called a “bad cop” as recently as this morning) and former CIA director John Brennan. After their dismissals, both went on to be critical of the President.

Sanger elaborated on Trump’s words:

“He said he was really impressed by that argument…So he essentially sided with a Putin explanation that would cast into doubt whether or not the Russians actually did this — something he had been doing during the campaign.”

Watch Sanger below:

Given Trump’s history of defending Putin, many thought it was typical that the President would take up for the Kremlin rather than his own intelligence officials.

As Sanger pointed out, Trump would later side with Putin again, this time in public.

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