Trump says he believes Russian Federation is still meddling

Danny Woods
July 19, 2018

For perhaps the first time in his presidency, US President Donald Trump admitted that he made a mistake.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to allow the United States access to Russians accused of election meddling in return for interviews of Americans accused by the Kremlin of unspecified crimes.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and reporters sparred during the White House press briefing on Wednesday over what President Donald Trump meant when he said "no" earlier in the day. Rather, she contended, the president said "no" to reporters' desire to ask questions.

That assertion would contradict the assessment of USA intelligence chief Dan Coats, who said on Monday that Russian Federation was involved in "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".

Late last week at a Washington, D.C., think tank, Coats was even more blunt than he was in his statement Monday, according to CNBC.

The president told a television interview that he has "tremendous faith" in Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, and that he would "accept" his conclusions on Russian involvement.

Mr Trump has been under bipartisan fire in Washington for failing to publicly confront Mr Putin over election meddling at the news conference that followed their Helsinki talks earlier this week.

The broadside came a day after he said he misspoke about claims of Kremlin meddling in U.S. elections following Monday's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Twitter, Trump said he had received praise for his heavily criticized news conference with Putin.

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At a news conference with Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump said he "didn't see any reason why it would be" Russian Federation that interfered in USA elections.

The tweets came a day after Mr Trump said he had missed out a word when appearing to support Mr Putin's claim that there was no Russian involvement in the 2016 United States presidential election.

Trump's comments came a day after he walked back his public questioning of USA intelligence findings of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. "It's called Trump Derangement Syndrome!" the president wrote. "You know the president can do more damage in 15 minutes at a press conference than we can undo in six months of passing resolutions".

"It could be other people also - there's a lot of people out there", he said.

Putin was accused of interfering with the election, seeing Trump triumph over democrat leader Hillary Clinton, something that USA citizens were hoping would be addressed in Monday's summit in Helsinki.

"Why should this president have any credibility to Americans in what he says if in fact 24 hours later - or in this case 3 hours later - the White House comes out and says "just kidding"?", Jackson asked.

When asked if she was reversing what the president had said, she answered: "I'm interpreting it, not reversing it". "I'll tell you, though, it better not be [happening]". I want to work forward with Putin toward peace, toward nuclear reduction, working to put pressure on North Korea and China, working together collaboratively in Syria against ISIS. Some lawmakers were also upset that Mr Trump had refused to offer specific criticisms of Russian Federation and Mr Putin, instead saying both countries were responsible for poor relations.

He also offered a twisted explanation of his assertion in Helsinki that he could not see "any reason" why Russian Federation would interfere, claiming he misspoke.

White House officials did not elaborate on how Mr Trump came to issue the clarification, but administration aides described being stunned by his initial remarks Monday.

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