U.S. President Donald Trump said he misspoke about Russia while he was in Helsinki. Trump backtracked on his statements just a day after his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Members of his own party have said the president has already damaged U.S. credibility by contradicting his own intelligence agencies on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections.
CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
On Tuesday, Trump was doing damage control.
“In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,’ ” Trump told reporters at the White House. “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t or why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ ”
In Helsinki, Trump was asked about U.S. intelligence reports that squarely blame Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Russia’s denied any such involvement. With President Vladimir Putin on stage beside him, Trump seemed to suggest he accepted his version over the American one.
Back on U.S. soil, Trump now confirmed he accepts U.S. intelligence conclusions. He then welcomed a group of Republican lawmakers to the White House for talks.
Members of his party had condemned Trump’s behavior as shameful, and a disgrace.
“Vladimir Putin does not share our values,” Paul Ryan, U.S. House Speaker said. “We just conducted a year-long investigation into Russia’s interference in our elections. They did interfere in elections. It’s really clear. There should be no doubt about that.”
“To create an equivalence between our intelligence agency and what Putin is saying, and then for the president to say ‘why would they do it—Russia ‘ I mean, just such a naive comment,” said Bob Corker, a U.S. Republican Congressman.
Newspaper headlines across the U.S. echoed the sentiment and many lawmakers demanded to know what, if anything, Trump offered Putin behind closed doors.
“We need hearings as soon as possible to assess what President Trump might have committed to President Putin in secret,” said Chuck Schumer, U.S. Democratic Senator.
Atiba Madyun explains the aftermath of the Putin-Trump meeting
CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Atiba Madyun about the global implications of the Putin-Trump meeting in Helsinki. Madyun is the President and Founder of Party Politics US.