Trump on Twitter (July 18): Putin, NATO

Carla Harmon
July 19, 2018

President Donald Trump's lukewarm expression of support for the USA intelligence community on Tuesday gave relieved GOP lawmakers a way out of answering thorny questions about his refusal to call out Russian Federation during a press conference on Monday in Helsinki alongside President Vladimir Putin.

When asked if Russian Federation is still targeting the United States and its midterm congressional elections, President Donald Trump on Wednesday responded "no" - again breaking with his top intelligence official.

US intelligence agencies concluded past year that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election campaign and sought to tilt the vote in Trump's favor, something Moscow has long denied.

He backed away from his public undermining of American intelligence agencies, saying he misspoke when he said he saw no reason to believe Russian Federation had interfered in the 2016 US election.

"I had a chance to speak with the president after his comments, and the president was - said, "Thank you very much, ' and was saying 'no" to answering questions", Sanders said. Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said as recently as Monday that the Kremlin was the source of "ongoing, pervasive... The system is blinking" and that "today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack".

He pointedly called out the president for refusing to denounce Russian interference in the 2016 election during Monday's press conference at the Helsinki Summit.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he does not believe Russian Federation is still targeting the United States, contradicting U.S. intelligence assessments that Moscow is continuing its attempts to meddle in American elections - a remark White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders later said was misunderstood by the press.

Trump asserted Wednesday at the White House that no other American president has been as tough on Russian Federation.

"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place", he said, reading from prepared remarks, before adding: "Could be other people also".

Trump said: "I let him know we can't have this".

President Vladimir Putin's offer to help the USA investigate alleged Russian election meddling, hailed as an "incredible" gesture by Donald Trump, included the same allegations made by a Kremlin-linked lawyer at a controversial 2016 meeting with top campaign officials of the future president. Sanders added that Trump "said it was an interesting idea".

"If we're in the majority, we'll probably be more effective and you'd see a lot stronger things protecting American security than you will with this majority, which seems so afraid of President Trump".

Putin was accused of interfering with the election, seeing Trump triumph over democrat leader Hillary Clinton, something that United States citizens were hoping would be addressed in Monday's summit in Helsinki. "So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes", Trump told CBS News in an interview.

Trump has denied collusion and casts Mueller's probe as a witchhunt that aims to detract from his election victory. "There's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russian Federation", he said. "I'll tell you, though, it better not be [happening]". "And he shouldn't be happy about it because there's never been a president as tough on Russian Federation as I have been. OK?"

But Texas Republican John Cornyn said the Senate should focus on "additional sanctions instead of just some messaging exercise". "So when he sees that he has misspoken, he comes out and he says that".

Other reports by iNewsToday