Trump claims he misspoke in Helsinki, meant to say Russia did have reason to meddle in election

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(NBC) – President Donald Trump attempted on Tuesday to clarify his widely criticized comments in Helsinki, saying that he had misspoken when he said a day earlier that he did not see why Russia would have meddled in the election.

Trump said Tuesday he meant to say he did not see any reason why it wouldn’t have been Russia that interfered.

“I thought that I made myself very clear, but having just reviewed the transcript…I realized that there is a need for some clarification,” Trump said Tuesday at the White House. “The sentence should have been…’I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia’.”

At the Monday press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said about election meddling in 2016: “(Putin) just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Trump also said on Tuesday that he had “full faith and support” for the American intelligence community and supported their assessment that Russian meddled in the election, although the president to claim that others could also be responsible.

“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 I accept our American intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” the president said.

But, Trump added, “Could be other people also, there’s a lot of people out there.”

The president came under widespread, bipartisan condemnation on Monday for not backing his intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow had interfered in the election. The president made the comments in Helsinki just days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials for meddling in the election, providing a detailed account of their hacking and other activities in the indictment.

During his Tuesday remarks, Trump also said that his administration took the threat of continued Russian interference seriously and vowed to move aggressively to “repel” any efforts by Moscow to interfere in future U.S. elections. “We’re doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018,” he said.

Article taken from nbcnews.com

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