Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Trump backtracks, says he misspoke on Russian election tampering

Trump backtracks, says he misspoke on Russian election tampering

That's what a handwritten note attached to U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks said on Tuesday, one day after he questioned information from his intelligence agencies suggesting Russian Federation had meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

"Let me begin by saying that once again, full faith and support for America's intelligence agencies".

Signalling Republicans' own efforts at damage control in the wake of Trump's Helsinki performance, McConnell said there might be a vote on a bill sponsored by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, that would create punishments if Russian Federation interferes in the 2018 midterm elections.

In Helsinki, as Putin looked on, Trump said the following to a question about whether he believed USA intelligence agencies, or Putin's denials of interference: "My people came to me ... they said they think it's Russian Federation".

Speaking from the White House, Trump said that after reviewing a transcript of the press conference he realized that "in a key sentence I said the word "would" instead of 'wouldn't'". All are nervously watching Twitter to see if the President attempts further cleanup beyond his tweet after the event Monday when he said he has "GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people".

The political firestorm over Trump's performance at the Helsinki news conference has engulfed the administration and spread to his fellow Republicans, eclipsing most of the frequent controversies that have erupted during Trump's turbulent 18 months in office. "Vladimir Putin does not share our interests, Vladimir Putin does not share our values".

"I've said this many times", Trump said, reading from a written statement.

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Trump ally Newt Gingrich said the comments were the "most serious mistake of his presidency", urging him to clarify. In April, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs in one of Washington's most aggressive moves to punish Moscow. "We have never been in a worse relationship with Russian Federation than we were" up to a few days ago.

Those include Russia's annexation of Crimea, its support for rebel forces in eastern Ukraine and Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria, as well as its alleged use of chemical weapons in Britain, which Moscow has denied.

Speaking alongside Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Trump said: "He just said it's not Russian Federation".

At the summit, Mr Putin again denied meddling in the United States election, and in a later interview dismissed longstanding reports that Russian intelligence may hold compromising material on Mr Trump. He nodded along to some of Trump's remarks before they were translated, showcasing his fluency in English.

"The sentence should've been I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russian Federation, sort of a double negative".

John Cornyn, the second-ranked Senate Republican, even excused Trump's remarkable comments in Helsinki: "In the President's mind, I think he's conflating different things - the meddling and the collusion allegations for which there does not appear to be any evidence".

In the Senate, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top officials to appear before Congress and tell exactly what happened during Trump's two-hour private session with Putin.

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