The US President now says he "accepts" the intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation meddled in the US presidential election - despite saying the opposite in Helsinki.
In an instantly controversial new comment on Russia, President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to deny the longtime USA foe was still targeting American elections, a claim sharply at odds with recent public warnings from his top intelligence chief. Leone Lakhani is following developments in Washington.
He added that "the meeting with Russian Federation may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success".
Taking direct issue with the president who appointed him, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said United States spy agencies have been "clear" and "fact-based" in their assessment that Moscow interfered in the presidential race two years ago.
Putin asserted his country had "never interfered, and does not plan to interfere in internal American electoral process".
In response, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump was trying to "squirm away from what he said yesterday".
Still, remember, the most important thing is that there was no collusion.
President Donald Trump during an interview with CBS Evening News
Trump can't acknowledge that Russian Federation interfered in the election, because that gives credence to the collusion crowd.
The Terminator star's comments of disappointment come after Trump's recent visit to the U.K.to meet Queen Elizabeth. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said, "The president has gone through a year and a half of totally partisan investigations - what's he supposed to think?"
"Words are not enough". McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who called Russia's government "menacing", said their chambers could consider additional sanctions on Russian Federation.
"Have you ever seen the lights go out on a president before?" I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russian Federation.
He also said he accepts the conclusion by U.S. intelligence officials that Moscow interfered in the election, which saw Trump defeat Democrat rival Hillary Clinton.
He also spoke for equality, saying that "I would have thought we had figured that out by now". Pompeo is to publicly testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 25.
He then tried to change the subject to blame Democrats for being soft on national security.
There has been no indication so far that any of Trump's key aides planned to quit.
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