Jimmy Carter has called Donald Trump an “illegitimate president” who was helped into office by Russian interference in the 2016 election.
At a conference for his human rights organization the Carter Center, the former president said a full investigation “would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016”.
“He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” Carter added.
The event moderator, Jon Meacham, asked if that meant Carter thought that Trump was an illegitimate president. Carter then briefly paused and replied: “Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract,” Carter said. The remark then triggered laughter in the audience and from Meacham.
Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, and the Kremlin’s ties to Trump’s campaign, were exhaustively investigated by Robert Mueller. In his 448-page report, submitted in April, the special counsel concluded there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. But he did detail numerous incidents of Russian interference, many of which have led to indictments.
Carter also called for Trump to condemn Russia for their actions and said the current president should “admit that it happened”.
“There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election,” he said.
On Friday Trump, and Vladimir Putin met at the G20 summit in Japan – and Trump jokingly raised the issue. As the pair sat for photographs, a reporter asked if Trump would tell Putin not to meddle in the 2020 US election. Without looking at Putin, Trump said: “Don’t meddle in the election, please.’” He then repeated the phrase with a mock finger wag.
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