Trump backtracks on Russian meddling remark

President Trump Meets With Members Of Congress In The White House Roosevelt Room

CREDIT Mark Wilson Getty

In one of the only times of his presidency he's admitted to a mistake, Trump said that when he returned Monday from the summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, he "realized there is some need for clarification" about his remarks on Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

"I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies", the president said. "There was no collusion at all".

The president, in Helsinki, also criticised the FBI, Democrats, Hillary Clinton and the special counsel's investigation of Russia's election activities and possible Trump campaign complicity - all as an occasionally smiling Putin stood beside him in the Finland presidential palace.

President Trump now says he misspoke when he addressed charges of Russian election meddling during his Helsinki summit with Putin.

During the press conference, Putin denied Russia had meddled in the U.S. election, but admitted: "I wanted him to win because he talked about normalising Russian-American relations".

"In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word "would" instead of 'wouldn't", Trump said today, walking back his words and claiming that the confusion was due to grammatical error.

In fact, the reaction back home was immediate and visceral, among fellow Republicans as well as usual Trump critics.

Russia's political and media establishment heralded the summit as a victory for Putin in breaking down Western resolve to treat Russian Federation as a pariah. "Vladimir Putin does not share our values", said Ryan. A Trump nominee, Coats, did not even wait for the president's return. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, called for immediate hearings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top officials to learn more about Trump's one-on-one meeting with the Russian Federation leader.

Reading prepared remarks to reporters at the White House, Trump reiterated that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation and that the country's efforts had no impact on the final results.

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Trump's reversal came amid fierce criticism over the remarks from both Democrats and Republicans.

Trump also said he believes that Russian meddling took place in the 2016 presidential election, but that it did not change the election's outcome.

Republican lawmakers including House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker all publicly criticised Trump for his performance.

Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as the Trump's White House communications director past year, told CNN, "Trump's made a very big mistake here".

FILE - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a TV news interview on Capitol Hill in Washington.

"We stand by our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and all those countries who are facing Russian Federation aggression", Ryan said.

"I've said this many times", Trump said, reading from the written statement.

Trump also at varying times in his European trip disparaged the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, which was formed to counter the former Soviet Union.

"Shameful", "disgraceful", "weak" were a few of the comments by American politicians and Trump backers. On Tuesday, Trump thanked Paul by tweeting "you really get it!"

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