After U.S. President Donald Trump insisted in scripted remarks to reporters on Tuesday that he misspoke during the Helsinki summit when he unequivocally accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of election meddling, Sen.
As Trump was declaring his "full faith and support" for United States intelligence agencies, the lights in the Cabinet Room went dark.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling Russia's government "menacing", said he was willing to consider additional sanctions on Russian Federation, and reiterated his support for USA intelligence community findings that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election. A lot of people out there.
As he flew home to Washington aboard Air Force One, Mr Trump tried to clarify his position via tweet, saying: "As I said today and many times before, 'I have great confidence in my intelligence people'".
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and US President Donald Trump shake hands before a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. "The Republicans have been, I would say, unwilling to actually do something about it".
"I would like to clarify, in a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word "would" instead of 'wouldn't.' The sentence should have been: 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russian Federation, '" he said.
Trump stunned the world on Monday by shying away from criticising the Russian leader for Moscow's actions to undermine the election and cast doubt on USA intelligence agencies, prompting calls by some U.S. lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to punish Russia.
"There was no collusion".
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In another tweet Tuesday morning, Trump took credit for pledges from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies at a summit last week in Brussels to meet their targets for defence spending - a move he said was "bad for Russian Federation". "There was nobody to collude with".
"There was no collusion at all".
Trump said the summit with Putin still "was our most successful visit" on his European trip.
"I have the strongest respect for our intelligence agencies, headed by my people", Trump said at the previously unscheduled session with a small group of White House reporters as he prepared to meet with some House Republicans about additional tax cuts.
During the now infamous Monday news conference, the president told reporters, "President Putin, he just said it's not Russian Federation". "Just as he's making the mistake of mixing the two together, so the public says, 'Well, if he's denying this, he's denying everything'". His skepticism drew a quick formal statement - nearly a rebuttal - from Trump's director of national Intelligence, Dan Coats.
Kinzinger said Trump needed to speak to the nation about what happened - in person and not on Twitter. But his performance during the Putin summit was dubbed by Republicans and Democrats alike as one of the biggest blunders of his presidency.
Vice President Mike Pence - who a day earlier had praised Trump's performance in Helsinki - was closely involved in fielding outside criticism and trying to keep Republican members of Congress measured in their responses, an official said. "Isn't it natural to feel sympathy to a person who wanted to develop relations with our country?"