US President Donald Trump, seeking to stanch a national furore, said on Tuesday that he misspoke in Helsinki, Finland, and meant to say that he indeed does see Russian Federation as the culprit that interfered in the 2016 presidential election, just as US intelligence agencies have found.
Trump, facing uproar over his failure to confront Putin over Russia's 2016 US election meddling, adopted his usual defiant posture two days after their Helsinki summit and called his critics deranged.
"I let him know we can't have this, we're not going to have it, and that's the way it's going to be", Trump said yesterday of the meeting with Putin, which was attended only by the leaders and an interpreter.
"But you haven't condemned Putin, specifically".
"Well, I would, because he's in charge of the country. I just want to have this country be safe".
The White House has inundated with a flood of bad press, tweets criticizing them from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the intelligence community, plus a statement from their own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, countering his boss, the president.
It prompted Paul to respond to the former Central Intelligence Agency director, noting that he voted for a Communist Party USA candidate Gus Hall in 1976-four years before he became a Central Intelligence Agency employee. "It is a deeply cynical dodge, in no way aimed at cooperation on the very serious matter of Russia's interference in our political system, which last Friday's indictments detail so powerfully".
"We won't be able, as a nation, to fight back against foreign interference in our elections if the Commander in Chief doesn't even acknowledge that it's a real problem", Schumer said in a statement.
When questioned again, Trump tried to avoid a direct answer, then said that he "can't see why it would be" Russian Federation who meddled in the election. He added that he thinks he's been tougher on Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin, than any other US president.
Putin has denied the allegations.
"The sentence should have been: "I don't see any reason why I wouldn't" or 'why it wouldn't be Russian Federation", he told reporters at the White House.More news: Zuckerberg: ‘I absolutely didn't intend to defend’ Holocaust deniers
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But as the White House considers the possibility, McFaul said he still had confidence that United States officials will eventually deny Russia's "crazy scheme".
Browder said on Fox Business Network that it was "just shocking" for Trump's spokeswoman to say they were considering letting Russian Federation question USA officials.
On Tuesday, he delivered a scripted statement to "clarify" - his word - his public doubting of US intelligence findings of Russian interference in the election to harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken the lead in working with all the 50 states, local governments and private companies to improve election security. So far, 18 states have requested this assessment.
In March, Congress provided the Election Assistance Commission with $380 million in funding for election assistance grants to states.
"We will see how things develop further", Putin said, evoking unnamed "forces" in the USA trying to prevent any improvement in relations and "putting narrow party interests above the national interest".
Russian politicians are rallying behind Putin and shrugging off Trump's wildly contradictory accounts of what he said to Putin at Monday's summit. Then on Tuesday, Trump backpedaled and said he misspoke. But I was standing right next to Putin, and we had just had a great two-hour conversation.
"The bottom line is, different people will characterize it differently", Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters this week of Trump's conduct toward Russian Federation.
Supporters of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, many of whom are also concerned about Trump's relationship with Putin, pointed out that NATO's mutual defence commitment is a deterrent, and has largely kept the peace in Europe since World War II. "Putin's acknowledgement that his counterpart [U.S. President Donald Trump] does not recognize the annexation of Crimea is also important", she wrote on Facebook. Browder has said he helped expose corruption in Russian Federation. And people understand. I think the press largely makes up a lot of the fuss about a lot of things. He wants to create a more stable world, a more peaceful world.
"We wouldn't actually spend as much time and effort as we are if we didn't believe that [Russia is] still looking at us", she said.
"But to act like he hasn't been tough on Russian Federation, that he hasn't called them out is simply not true, and it simply completely changes everything that this administration has done in regards to that country", Sanders added.