Ten days after the Helsinki press conference, the White House has added the real questions asked by Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason to their official transcript.
Multiple reports of its omission have run rampant in the media, but the Trump Administration said to CNN that the alleged error was not “malicious.”
Initially, the transcript didn’t include Mason’s question if Putin had wanted Donald Trump to win the election.
To which Putin replied, “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”
The Hill reports that the only question left in was “And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?”
Both Democrats and Republicans have condemned Trump’s behavior at the press conference, and it was reported that the president had effectively sided with Russia when asked if he believed intelligence officials had interfered with the 2016 election.
He initially doubted the FBI’s findings and recent arrests of the 12 Russian intelligence officials accused of hacking into Democratic National Committee computer systems.
Trump later tweeted that he is “concerned” that Russia is siding with the Democrats and will interfere in the November midterm elections.
Rachel Maddow was a notable member of the press who noticed the omission of Mason’s question, which was cut from the press conference video as well as the transcript Inquisitr reported.
“What the White House has disappeared from the official U.S. government record of that meeting… is President Putin answering in the affirmative when asked if he wanted Trump to win the election,” Maddow said on her MSNBC show.
She went on to say that at least the White House left in “half the question” in to provide viewers with a “misleading answer.” The Russian government reportedly cut both questions.
The Atlantic was the first to note that neither the official video nor the transcript of the press conference contained both questions.
“You could interpret [Putin’s response] to mean he’s answering ‘yes’ to both,” Mason said to The Atlantic. “[But] looking at it critically, he spent a good chunk of that press conference, just like President Trump did, denying any collusion. So I think it’s likely that when he said ‘Yes, I did,’ that he was just responding to the first part of my question and perhaps didn’t hear the second part.”
The president initially referred to Putin’s denials of Russian interference as “strong and powerful” but later retracted these statements. He also said that the Russia probe was a “disaster for our country.”