Heller “pleased” with Trump’s “sincere” would/wouldn’t clarification

asset hangs on handler's every word
Photo: President of Russia website, en.kremlin.ru/events

In Helsinki during his joint press appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump once again doubted the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said.

Tuesday, under fire from even those in his own party for siding with Russia instead of the U.S. intelligence services, Trump claimed that he misspoke, and that what he meant to say was that “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t have been Russia.”

During a telephone town hall Tuesday night, Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller was immediately asked about Trump’s Helsinki remarks and the subsequent attempted clarification. Audio of the town hall was posted on twitter by Mark Riffenberg, organizer for NextGen Nevada. Below is the text of Heller’s response to the question.

“President Trump came into Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, and one of the comments that he made was that ‘Senator Heller and I don’t always get along’ – or, not that way – ‘Senator Heller and I don’t always agree.’ And that’s true. He made a true comment there. We don’t always agree. And unfortunately this weekend was one of those situations. As you know he’s kind of walked back his comments. But my out-of-the-box response to what he said was that I do not trust Putin. I don’t trust him. I’ve never trusted him. I don’t think this country should trust him. And I do believe in the integrity of our intelligence agencies. We had 17 intelligence agencies out there that said that they were involved in our election in 2016. And I agree with that. That they did meddle in our election and they may attempt to do so in 2018. So yeah, we disagree. [Interruption] … in Helsinki, but he has since walked back those comments. And I hope they’re sincere. And I believe that he is. But I would just disagree. And now that he has changed his position I am pleased that he has done so.”

Here is Riffenberg’s tweet. The Heller comments quoted above are in the first 3:32 of the audio.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.


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