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Trump says he misspoke on Russia meddling

Trump says he misspoke on Russia meddling

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Updated July 17, 2018 03:47 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Circa) — President Donald Trump said he was confused by a "double-negative" during a Monday press conference in Helsinki when he appeared to contradict the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the U.S. 2016 elections.

On Tuesday, Trump told reporters at the White House that his remarks needed "some clarification."

"In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't," Trump explained. "The sentence should have been: 'I don't see any reason why...it wouldn't be Russia'" that interfered in the U.S. election.

Trump said he had "full faith" in the intelligence community, adding that none of the intelligence assessments revealed collusion between his presidential campaign and the Russian government.

The president's initial remarks at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin were widely condemned as a capitulation.

Trump further stated that his administration is "doing everything in our power" to prevent Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections, though he did not name specific steps.

"We’re going to take strong action to secure our election systems and the process," he said.

In Helsinki, Trump delivered no condemnation of Russia's interference and refused to say he believes American intelligence agencies over Russia's denials of meddling.

During Trump and Putin's 2.5-hour meeting in Finland, they reportedly discussed Russian attempts to interfere in U.S. elections. Trump said they also spoke extensively about nuclear disarmament, stability in the Middle East and the North Korean nuclear threat.

Trump signaled he was planning a news conference in the coming days after returning from Helsinki, though nothing has been announced officially by the White House.

President Donald Trump says he meant the opposite when he said in Helsinki that he doesn't see why Russia would have interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Back at the White House on Tuesday, the president told reporters that he said he meant he doesn't see why Russia "wouldn't" be responsible.

He also said he accepts the American intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the election, but he denied that his campaign had colluded in the effort.

Trump spoke a day after returning to the U.S. to nearly universal condemnation of his performance at Russian President Vladmir Putin's side in Helsinki. Putin said he wanted Trump to win the race against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In Helsinki, Trump delivered no condemnation of Russia's interference and refused to say he believes American intelligence agencies over Russia's denials of meddling.

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