Trump Walks Back Controversial Comments On Russian Election Interference

Rep. Joaquin Castro calls for'cyber NATO in response to Russian election attack

Trump made the comments in a series of early morning tweets after his highly criticized meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland and his visit with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries.

"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place", Trump said, but then, calling into question the extent of his acceptance, he added that it "could be other people also, there are a lot of people out there".

Mr Trump said it was "sort of a double negative", adding, "I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself".

While some of Trump's staunchest promoters defended his performance at the press conference, others broke from him.

The blowback for Helsinki was so fierce that Trump issued a uniquely rare walk-back, saying he meant to use a double negative and indicate Russian Federation would be responsible for the election hacking.

"Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting".

At the very moment he delivered this stunning about-face, saying he had "full faith in USA intelligence agencies", the lights briefly went out at the White House, plunging the President into darkness.

"Frankly, I don't think those US presidents at any point came off as not pursuing USA security interests, as being taken in by the Soviet leader they were meeting with", said Alina Polyakova, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Trump's appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn broad condemnation from Democratic and Republicans alike.

Trump blames 'double negative' for furor over Putin meeting
The calls came after Trump's remarks at a Monday press conference alongside Putin were widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans.

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"For the president of the USA to side with President Putin against American law enforcement, American defence officials, and American intelligence agencies is thoughtless, dangerous, and weak", Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said.

Trump's Tuesday remarks came after comments that were condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

It came as the fallout grew over what was dubbed Mr Trump's "surrender summit" and "treason summit". Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan called Russia's government "menacing" and said they could consider additional sanctions on Russian Federation.

The drama continued as Trump headed to his next stop, the U.K. His first official visit was overshadowed by fallout from the rhetorical grenade he'd lobbed at British Prime Minister Theresa May before arriving.

Trump sought to calm the storm in comments on July 17, saying that he misspoke in Helsinki when he stated that he saw no reason to think that Russian Federation had meddled.

Trump also crossed out a line about bringing those involved "in that meddling to justice", and that's because "he hates the notion that there could be any sense of justice, fairness under law, that involves punishing him or anyone around him", Cuomo said.

"In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word "would" instead of "wouldn't", he explained.

Maria Bartiromo - one of Trump's most vocal cheerleaders at Fox Business - called the summit "probably the low point of the presidency so far".

Schumer also urged the Senate to take up legislation to boost security for US elections and to revive a measure passed earlier by the Judiciary Committee to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.

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