Putin says some forces seeking to undermine results of Russia-US summit

Frederick Owens
July 19, 2018

The uproar follows President Donald Trump's talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit on Monday.

"I let him know we can't have this", Trump told CBS News of his conversations with Putin.

The report sheds light on President Trump's consistent efforts to shift the focus away from any role Moscow played in his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, including his back-and-forth statements that at first contradicted, then accepted, the intelligence community's findings since his meeting with Putin in Helsinki Monday.

"We see that there are forces in the United States that are easily ready to sacrifice Russian-American relations for their own ambitions", Putin said in a speech to Russian ambassadors gathered in Moscow. Trump walked back the comment a day later, saying he misspoke, while adding "could be other people also".

"What I was totally flabbergasted by was that the White House would not defend me", McFaul said.

In an interview with Jeff Glor of CBS Evening News, which was released in part Wednesday evening, Trump was asked whether he holds Putin personally responsible for election meddling in 2016.

"Russia lost 50 million people and helped us win the war", Trump said. "A year and a half into his presidency, Trump's puzzling affinity for Putin has yet to be explained", Bennett wrote.

"The President and his administration are working very hard to make sure that Russian Federation is unable to meddle in our elections as they have done in the past and as we have stated", she continued. That came just days after National Intelligence Director Dan Coats sounded an alarm, comparing the cyberthreat today to the way US officials said before 9/11 that intelligence channels were "blinking red" with warning signs that a terror attack was imminent.

President Trump is considering allowing prosecutors from the Kremlin to question Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador, and others, Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday. Ms Sanders said Mr Trump believes the threat from Russian Federation to undermine those elections still exists.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign has increasingly put pressure on the White House.

He added that Russian Federation is "nevertheless open to developing contacts with the U.S. on the basis of equality". "It better not be", Trump said.

To represent that conflict, Burson merged the faces of Trump and Putin into a still image and video which morphs between the shifting appearances of the two world leaders.

The muddied waters have deepened critics' concerns that Trump is not taking threats to the USA electoral system seriously enough.

Amid bipartisan condemnation of Trump's embrace of a longtime USA enemy in Helsinki, the US president delivered a rare admission of error Tuesday.

It was the second time this week that Trump's words about Russian interference required clarification and revision by the White House.

Burson told Time her goal with the Trump-Putin image was to make people "stop and think" about the similarities between the two leaders.

Trump has had a tense relationship with USA intelligence agencies since before he was elected - largely due to their conclusion that Putin ordered "an influence campaign" in 2016 aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Lindsey Graham pointed to "a big discrepancy" between what they believed Trump said Wednesday and Coats' warning.

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