One day after President Donald Trump clarified that he believes Russian Federation likely interfered in the 2016 presidential election, he said Wednesday he thinks the Kremlin no longer targeting the US and its elections.
But Trump has frequently questioned the Intelligence Community's assessment, including on Monday, in which he sided with Putin over USA intelligence on 2016 election interference.
But he appeared to veer from his script to also hedge on who was responsible for the election interference.
"Let's see how the country responds over the next several weeks", in the run-up to the November midterms, says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
On Twitter, Trump said he had received praise for his heavily criticized news conference with Putin.
"I think I did great at the news conference", he said, later adding: "I don't know what the fuss is all about".
But even while walking back numerous answers he gave Monday, Trump still defended his performance at the Helsinki press conference. He also said that he didn't see any reason why it "would have been" Russian Federation that interfered in the election, comments that he later walked back, claiming he meant to say "wouldn't".
He added: "Some people hate the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russian Federation".
While 40 percent of Republicans say they view Russian Federation as an ally, up from 22 percent four years ago, according to Gallup, they're still a minority within their own party.
Mr. Trump called Brennan a "low-life" in Wednesday's interview, saying that "in the past, it's been awful".
It also named other former US officials, including someone it described as a former intelligence officer, Russia's state-operated RIA news agency reported.
After meeting with Russian President Vladmir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump stated that he didn't "see any reason why it would be" Russia that had meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Chris Coons, D-Del., will try to force a vote Thursday on a resolution backing the intelligence community's findings that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election and must be held accountable.
"We're going to have a massive effort to try to get to what happened". He also said he has faith in USA intelligence agencies. "Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack". "I don't think the president can sustain support all by himself".
Samantha Power, the former United States ambassador to the UN, said Trump's refusal to stand up to Putin was "a travesty", while Democrat congressman Ted Lieu said it was "batshit crazy".
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, investigating Russia's role in the 2016 election, is looking into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation, an allegation the president denies. On July 13, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned of Russian cyber-intrusions - likening the situation to the period before 9/11.
"It could be other people also - there's a lot of people out there", he said.
"I have no doubt that when it comes to American interest, this president is always going to put America first", he said.
White House officials did not elaborate on how Mr Trump came to issue the clarification, but administration aides described being stunned by his initial remarks Monday.
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