Rebuking Trump's embrace of Putin, U.S. lawmakers look to punish Russian Federation


Blistered by bipartisan condemnation of his embrace of a longtime US enemy, President Donald Trump on Tuesday backed away from his public undermining of American intelligence agencies, saying he simply misspoke when he said he saw no reason to believe Russian Federation had interfered in the 2016 USA election.

Kelly probably figured, with some reason, that a rare display of public pressure from Ryan and McConnell would nudge Trump towards walking his comments back - which he did with this afternoon's Costanza-esque "I said "would" when I meant to say "wouldn't" spin.

"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place", he added, before immediately casting doubt on that conclusion.

"Could be other people also", Trump said, appearing to ad-lib. A lot of people out there.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) waits for a Banking Committee hearing to begin on Capitol Hill as fallout continued over U.S. President Donald Trump's Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2018.

"My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, some others, they said they think it's Russia", Trump said as he stood next to Putin at a joint news conference between the two leaders following their talks in Helsinki.

"Obviously, it was important for the president to know what information we've uncovered because he's got to make very important decisions for the country".

"Just standing and selling your country downriver on foreign soil in front of your adversary - there's no precedent for such disgraceful and irrational behavior", Brinkley said. "Sort of a double negative", he said. "That must be the intelligence agencies".

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Trump and Putin meet later Monday at the palace. "But the fact that they meet with each other is important", he said. A probe over allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election has clouded Trump's presidency.

Trump's praise for Putin highlights the gap between the president and the rest of his administration when it comes to Russian Federation, a divide that has left European allies scratching their heads.

"Trump 0 - Putin 1", blared the front page of Finland's Kauppalehti newspaper.

For his part, Putin made the erroneous assertion in the news conference closing their summit that a clique of US business associates steered $400 million to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.

Trump had said there were "two thoughts" on the matter, and "I have confidence in both parties".

At one point, as Trump said he had "full faith" in USA intelligence agencies, the lights went out.

Trump's closest advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reportedly urged him to issue a correction. "I am nervous that the longer this goes on that it's harder to fix and that the allies will take different roads and will decide that we are not dependable". It seems there are few, if any, who deemed the summit a good idea despite the apocalyptic issues that need to be addressed, i.e., the civil war in Syria, the disastrous nuclear situation in North Korea, and of course, Iran. "The media only says I was rude to leaders, never mentions the money!"

"No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant", said McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Hurd, who is a former CIA officer and member of the House Intelligence Committee, if he trusted Trump's ability to speak on behalf of United States interests.