ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday he believes President Donald Trump actually lost the 2016 election and is president only because of Russian interference.
Carter made the comments during a discussion on human rights at a resort in Leesburg, Virginia, without offering any evidence for his statements.
“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.”
The U.S. intelligence community asserted in a 2017 report that Russia had worked to help Trump during the election and to undermine the candidacy of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
But the intelligence agencies did not assess whether that interference had affected the election or contributed to Trump’s victory, and no evidence has emerged that votes were changed improperly.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report identified two criminal schemes by Russia to interfere in the election: the hacking of Democratic email accounts and a social media campaign to spread disinformation online and sway public opinion.
But Mueller’s report did not establish that Russia conspired with any Trump associates in those efforts.
Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.