White House denies Trump said Russia no longer targeting U.S.

Saturday, 21 Jul, 2018

"So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki", Trump said in a series of early-morning tweets about their Monday summit.

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2018.

President Trump's assertion flies in the face of his own director of national intelligence Dan Coats.

Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have condemned Trump's positive take on Putin during Monday's post-meeting joint press conference.

After Mr Trump executed a stunning backflip 24 hours later, claiming he had simply misspoken and said the wrong word, his excuse was mocked as ridiculous.

CHANG: Now, Trump also said today that he's been tougher on Russian Federation than any previous president. I think that this has gotten totally out of control. I will tell you though, it better not be.

Mr Schumer said: "We will work to protect our security".

He also said that Moscow's offer of assistance in the investigation of Russian military intelligence officials indicted in the United States on espionage charges, was "not high on our list of investigative techniques". He added that he thinks he's been tougher on Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin, than any other US president.

Critics have accused him of siding with Russian Federation over his own country by failing to criticize Moscow for what USA intelligence agencies a year ago described as Moscow's interference in the 2016 election in an attempt to sow discord, aid Trump's candidacy and disparage Trump's Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

As his rare retraction - Trump is not known to own up mistakes - became the new narrative, the president added a new wrinkle in an unscripted interaction with reporters. So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes. We're also living in a grown up world.

Asked if he held Putin personally responsible, Trump told CBS, "I would, because he's in charge of the country".

"I'm interpreting what the president said, I'm not reversing it", Sanders said. I think he's a total low-life. There's no rush. There's no missiles going off.

"We want the interpreter to come before the committee. We want to see the notes", Sen.

On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that Russian Federation does not pose a threat to the US, directly contradicting his director of national intelligence's statements.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and reporters sparred during the White House press briefing on Wednesday over what President Donald Trump meant when he said "no" earlier in the day.

Trump had earlier talked of an offer by Vladimir Putin for Russia to help with the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election.

He added: "Some people hate the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russian Federation".

"The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.' Sort of a double negative", he added.

In a series of Twitter posts on Wednesday morning, Trump continued his campaign to recast interpretation of the Helsinki meeting.

Mr. Trump has been on the defensive for the past two days after failing to defend the intelligence community during a press conference with Putin in Helsinki.