Former president George W. Bush said that “there’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, during a speech in Abu Dhabi Thursday.
“Whether they affected the outcome is another question,” Bush added.
He called it “problematic” that “a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”
“He’s got a chip on his shoulder,” Bush said about Putin. “The reason he does is because of the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves (are) to regain Soviet hegemony.”
The former president went on to emphasize the importance of NATO and U.S. alliances around the world, claiming Putin “is pushing, constantly pushing, probing weaknesses.”
This is not the first time Bush has been critical of Russia’s involvement with U.S. politics.
“The Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other,” Bush said during a forum in New York in October.
Trump has continually denied allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia, but has stated that he is “with our agencies” in their findings that Russia interfered in the election.
He also said of Putin that "I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election."
During Thursday’s summit, Bush also took the opportunity to say that the U.S. needs to “welcome” recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.