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Trump under Fire for Remark on Russian Meddling

After President Trump made headlines at Helsinki for refusing finding of U.S.A intelligence agencies and siding with Vladimir Putin, he came home to criticism at its best and backlash and outrage at its worst from friends and foes alike.

Once back, however, President Donald Trump claimed to have “full faith” in his intelligence agencies and stated that he had repeatedly accepted their conclusion that Russia had indeed meddled in the 2016 election.

At the joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump, according to the transcripts he presented, had misspoken the words. When asked if he believed the findings of his intelligence agencies on Russia’s meddling, Trump had said: “My people came to me. They said they think its Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this—I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

On Tuesday, President Trump said that he had meant to say “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be; sort of a double negative”, but had ended up saying “would” instead of “wouldn’t”.

“I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies,” the President said. “I have felt very strongly that while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that – and I’ve said this many times – I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.”

But true to his usual style, Trump added: “Could be other people also; there’s a lot of people out there.”

However, even while accepting findings by intelligence agencies that claimed Russia’s meddling in the election, Trump maintained and stressed that there was no collusion by his campaign.

President Trump was received by widespread outrage on Monday night as he returned home from Helsinki. Even his staunch allies such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich publicly called the news conference the “most serious mistake” of Trump’s presidency. Other party leaders and lawmakers called it “disgraceful”, “shameful”, “regrettable” and “disappointing”.

Trying to tackle the damage, Trump sent out a tweet on Tuesday morning to deflect the backlash he received. But even that didn’t work and the criticism continued with current House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell joining in the outrage.

“The Russians need to know that there are a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016 and it really better not happen again in 2018,” said McConnell at the Capitol, just minutes before Trump was scheduled to address the storm.

As the outrage built Tuesday morning, Trump called a meeting with Vice-President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton and new Communication Director Mike Shine to discuss their next step and how he must clarify the mistake made in his speech.