Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Back in Washington, Trump under pressure to reverse course on Russian Federation

Back in Washington, Trump under pressure to reverse course on Russian Federation

President Donald Trump stood at a podium beside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Monday and was asked by a reporter whether he believed Putin, or the conclusions of USA intelligence experts, on whether the Russians had interfered in the 2016 general election - which he won.

Trump said he meant the opposite when he said in Helsinki that he doesn't see why Russian Federation would have interfered in the 2016 USA elections.

On Tuesday, a growing number of Republicans called for him to take swift action to embrace the United States intelligence community's findings about Russian interference in the 2016 election and limit the damage from Helsinki. "There was no collusion at all".

"I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realize that there is need for some clarification", Trump said.

He told reporters he has "full faith" in America's intel apparatus a day after he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials that his country interfered in the 2016 election that Trump won in a major upset.

Going into Monday's meeting in Helsinki, Trump said he wanted to improve relations with Russian Federation, which he characterized as the worst they've ever been.

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

After his walkback, Trump said his administration would "move aggressively" to repel efforts to interfere in American elections.

"I have the strongest respect for our intelligence agencies, headed by my people", Trump said at the previously unscheduled session with a small group of White House reporters as he prepared to meet with some House Republicans about additional tax cuts.

McConnell declined to directly call Trump out for his performance, and appeared to waffle when asked if Congress would move on any legislation related to Russian Federation in the wake of the summit. The speaker said he stood by his Monday statement that "the president must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally".

Alexis Sánchez misses the start of Manchester United’s American tour
Manchester United Luke Shaw gets into action on gym equipment as United's pre-season campaign get underway in California. Alexis Sanchez has missed the start of Manchester United's United States tour as he has been unable to get a visa.

But with the fate of many Republican politicians' tied to Trump's popularity with his base, any attempt to check the president in the Republican-controlled Congress would likely flounder.

Trump praised one of few Republicans to defend his presser performance, thanking Rand Paul for noting, "The President has gone through a year and a half of through a year and a half of totally partisan investigations - what's he supposed to think?"

"My people came to me, Dan Coats, came to me and some others they said they think it's Russia", Trump said, referring to his director of national intelligence.

Trump also said Mueller's probe was a "disaster" that has kept the two Cold War adversaries "separated".

House Speaker Paul Ryan at a news conference following the weekly Republican caucus meeting at the US Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2018.

"We are doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018", he said.

Senate Democrats said they want the American interpreter at the Helsinki meeting to testify to Congress on what was said during the private Trump-Putin session. And it came at the end of an extraordinary trip to Europe in which Trump had already berated allies, questioned the value of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and demeaned leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel and Britain's Theresa May.

"President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin", he tweeted as Trump headed home from Helsinki.

"I came back and I said: 'What is going on?"

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