Trump backtracks, says he misspoke on Russian election tampering

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The two presidents met in Helsinki for their first summit just days after the USA justice department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in a concerted effort to help lift Trump to power.

On Tuesday, Trump walked back those comments, reading from a written statement saying he had "full faith" in the US intelligence community and that he misspoke when he said he didn't think Russian Federation interfered in elections.

In the hours after Trump's disastrous summit with Putin, White House officials gave the Washington Post conflicting accounts of Trump's take on the indictments. "North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has never been more together", he said at a breakfast meeting with the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

That did not explain why Mr Trump, who had tweeted a half a dozen times and sat for two television interviews since the Putin news conference, waited so long to correct his remarks.

Following a diplomatic summit in Helsinki, Trump faced harsh criticism after a press conference with Putin where he would not say whether he believed Russian Federation meddled with the 2016 presidential election.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said separately that the talks were "better than super" in comments reported by Russian news agencies.

"Obviously, it was important for the president to know what information we've uncovered because he's got to make very important decisions for the country".

"It's sort of a hostage drama for most elected Republicans", he said.

"This was the nightmare scenario", another Republican in contact with the administration told Vanity Fair. 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 addition to standing firm, he thanked Sen. Kentucky senator Rand Paul said critics had "Trump derangement syndrome" and said: "Republicans that are making the criticism are either the pro-war Republicans like McCain and Graham or the anti-Trump ones like Sasse".

A third Trump-friendly source acknowledged that backers of the president had been left "gravely concerned" by what occurred at the news conference.

Despite getting pushback for the comments he made, he repeated that sentiment when he sat down with Carlson.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was among those who told him to pull out after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russians on suspicion of hacking Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

Now it looks like those complaining about the timing should have checked with Trump first. "But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake".

It was also pointed out he made a handwritten note of his own during his "clarification" moment.

"I am not being alarmist, I am simply stating the facts", Obama said.

He also said he accepts the American intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation interfered in the election, but he denied that his campaign had colluded in the effort. My people came to me, (director of national intelligence) Dan Coats came to me and some others. A lot of people out there.

"The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why I wouldn't, or why it wouldn't be Russian Federation".

"He's held aloft by his base for now, but the base alone is not sufficient and I think we're in for a rough ride this fall."

However, Trump stopped short of condemning Russian Federation and noted that other actors could have been responsible in meddling with the election.