Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday that he believes President Trump’s victory in 2016 was illegitimate due to Russian interference in the election.
Carter’s comments came during a CSPAN panel discussion at a retreat for donors at the Carter Center in Leesburg, Virginia, telling historian Jon Meacham that a “full investigation” would show that Trump was only put into office due to Russian interference.
“There is no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election,” Carter said. “And I think the interference, though not yet quantified, if fully investigated 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.”
Moderator and historian Jon Meacham then asked the former president if he thinks that Trump is an “illegitimate president.”
“Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract,” Carter said to audience laughter.
Carter’s remarks came just after Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. During the meeting, Trump jokingly told Putin not to “meddle” with the next U.S. election.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 28, 2019
After a nearly two-year investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller released his long-awaited report on Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election in April. Mueller concluded that the president’s campaign did not conspire with the Russian government, however, he did not conclude whether Trump committed obstruction.
Despite the two presidents’ policy differences, President Trump and Carter have shared a cordial relationship. Carter recently stated Trump was correct to not launch a military strike against Iran after a U.S. drone was shot down by the regime. The pair have previously discussed foreign policy issues such as North Korean denuclearization and trade with China.