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Republicans back Trump's claim he misspoke during Putin press conference

July 18, 2018
In The News

Several House Republicans said Wednesday they accepted President Donald Trump’s explanation that he misspoke at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he said he saw no reason why Russia would have interfered in the 2016 election.

“I can’t speak for the president,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. “Obviously, the president clarified his comments. Those findings were clear and strong.”

Speaking to reporters alongside Putin in Helsinki Monday, Trump said he has confidence both in the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was responsible for efforts to meddle in the election and in Putin’s firm denial of responsibility. “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia,” he added.

Trump’s apparent support for Putin’s version of events coupled with his harsh attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference drew bipartisan criticism back home from lawmakers who expressed strong support for the work of U.S. intelligence agencies.

At the White House Tuesday, Trump claimed he had intended to say, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.” However, he also said others may have been involved in the interference as well.

Democrats dismissed Trump’s attempted walk back of his earlier comments.

Several House Republicans said Wednesday they accepted President Donald Trump’s explanation that he misspoke at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he said he saw no reason why Russia would have interfered in the 2016 election.

“I can’t speak for the president,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. “Obviously, the president clarified his comments. Those findings were clear and strong.”

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
What follows the Trump-Putin summit?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What follows the Trump-Putin summit? (Sinclair Broadcast Group/Michelle Macaluso)

 

Speaking to reporters alongside Putin in Helsinki Monday, Trump said he has confidence both in the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was responsible for efforts to meddle in the election and in Putin’s firm denial of responsibility. “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia,” he added.

Trump’s apparent support for Putin’s version of events coupled with his harsh attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference drew bipartisan criticism back home from lawmakers who expressed strong support for the work of U.S. intelligence agencies.

At the White House Tuesday, Trump claimed he had intended to say, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.” However, he also said others may have been involved in the interference as well.

Democrats dismissed Trump’s attempted walk back of his earlier comments.

“My sense is that he meant what he said when he said it at that press conference,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore. “Now he’s even walking back from his walk back.”

Many Republicans were satisfied by his correction, though.

“The president clearly said he misspoke,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich. “I think we have to accept that for what it is. We don’t know what went on in a two-hour conversation between Putin and Trump, so we don’t know the context.”