Washington: President Donald Trump has alleged China, in addition to Russia, meddled in the 2016 US presidential elections.
Last month, chairing a UN Security Council meeting on the sidelines of the UN general Assembly in New York, Trump had alleged that China was trying to interfere in the 2018 mid-term polls and that it did not want him to be the president. China has denied these allegations. However, for the first time Trump came out in open to say that China also meddled in the 2016 presidential elections.
"They (Russians) meddled. But I think China meddled too," Trump told CBS News's popular '60 Minutes' in an interview. Recorded on Thursday, the interview was broadcast Sunday night.
"I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China...is a bigger problem," Trump said and denied that by saying so he is not trying to divert the entire Russia thing.
"I'm saying Russia, but I'm also saying China," he said.
But it's the investigation of Russia's intervention in the 2016 election that hangs over his presidency and caused a rift with his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, because he recused himself from the inquiry. Trump expressed disappointment that his Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescued himself from the Russia investigation.
"I was disappointed that he recused himself and many people think I was right on that. I was very disappointed. Why should he have recused himself? So I was very disappointed," he said.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is conducting investigations into the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Responding to a question, he said he has no intention of shutting down the Russian investigation.
"Well, I don't pledge anything. But (I) will tell you, I have no intention of doing that. I think it's a very unfair investigation because there was no collusion of any kind," he said.
To date, 32 people have been charged or pleaded guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. President Trump's campaign chairman, top campaign aide, former national security advisor and longtime personal attorney are all cooperating in the inquiry, which the president calls a witch-hunt. Trump questioned the very proposition that he called Russia to help him in the elections.
"Do you really think I'd call Russia to help me with an election? Give me a break. They wouldn't be able to help me at all. Call Russia. It's so ridiculous," he said.