The Wider World

Trump reverses self on Russian meddling

PRESIDENT Donald Trump greeting Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki (Wikipedia).

President Donald Trump reversed himself Tuesday on his controversial statements about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies,” he said, one day after calling investigations into the allegations a “witch hunt” and that he saw no reason why the Russians would be the culprits.

That was in Helsinki on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin sharing the stage. On Tuesday, following strong criticism from his own Republican Party, Trump said he had misspoken.

What he meant to say was “I don’t know see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,” said the president, adding that a stumble over a “sort of a double negative” was the reason.

However, when asked at a Washington press conference whether he believed Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence or Putin, Trump said “I have confidence in both parties.”

Coats issued this reply: “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”

The president also suggested that attempts to interfere with the election might have been the work of others than the Russians. “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there,” he said.

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