"(Trump) said they (Russians) probably meddled in the election. They did meddle in the election. The one thing that he also says, which drives the media crazy, but it's an absolute fact, is that others have as well, and that's true. China has, North Korea has, and they have consistently over many, many years," White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, told Fox News.
"He believes that Russia probably committed all of these acts that we've been told of, but he also believes that other countries also participated in this," Priebus said.
His stance was in contrast to the US president who has appeared hesitant to blame Russia but has acknowledged others may be involved, saying "nobody really knows for sure." He has tweeted that Putin "vehemently denied" interfering in the presidential election during their first face-to-face encounter at the G20 Summit on Friday.
Priebus, however, said Trump "absolutely did not believe" Putin's denial. Russia, he asserted, is not off the hook on the issue, but the Trump administration is not going to forgo progress on other issues simply because they differ on this.
"What it means is that we need to move forward with things like a ceasefire in Syria, which is going to save a lot of lives," he said. "It means we need to move forward with working together with ISIS. We need to move forward with working together in resolving the conflict in Ukraine."
Responding to a question whether the US was isolated at the G20 Summit in Germany on the issue of climate change, Priebus said Trump defended America's interest.
"Does the president have any trouble when he's one against 19?" the White House chief of staff was asked.
"The president has made it very clear that he doesn't believe the Paris agreement is fair. Now, you say it's a disagreement. It's really not a disagreement on the environment. It's a disagreement on the Paris agreement itself, and the fact that we don't want to be hamstrung by an agreement that's going to hurt the American worker across the country that the president has pledged to support," he said.
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