While Special counsel Robert Mueller and a congressional committee continue to investigate Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election on Donald Trump’s behalf, the President is repeating a familiar refrain. He’s defending his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Trump and Putin’s latest meeting was reportedly limited to the two leaders sharing some informal talks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Vietnam.

“He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump told a group of reporters while in Vietnam Saturday. “You can only ask him so many times ... He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”

In this case, the “they” Trump is referring to would be the FBI and the CIA and both agencies collective assessment that Russia interfered with the 2016 Presidential Election in order to help Trump win. The former reality show host lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, but still won the 304 Electoral College votes necessary to become the 45th President. While Trump tours Asia, probes are being conducted on possible collusion between various Trump associates and Russian operatives.

The topic of Trump and Putin’s ongoing bromance came up after the Kremlin released an official statement saying the two presidents “confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS (the Islamic State) in Syria.”

According to David Jackson of USA Today, when pressed further about allegations of Putin influencing the election, Trump responded by saying, “Well, look, I can’t stand there and argue with him. I would rather have him get out of Syria.”

After dropping that diplomatic gem, Trump was summarily flamed on Twitter.

Your Saturday morning headline essentially boils down to the man who penned The Art of the Deal, struggling to make an actual deal with someone who allegedly helped him rig an election he barely won. Putin has been accused of war crimes including the alleged 1999 Russian apartment bombings that ignited the Second Chechen War. So if you add in the layer of Putin potentially helping Trump diffuse the Syrian conflict, you end up with a storyline that sounds as if it were copied and pasted from The Onion.