President Donald Trump said Wednesday he holds Russian President Vladimir Putin "responsible" for Russian interfering with the USA election in 2016, even as he declined to call him out as a liar in an interview with CBS News Wednesday.
Trump also contended anew on Wednesday that no other US president has been "as tough on Russia as I have been", telling reporters Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of his alleged toughness. "The president and his administration are working very hard to ensure that Russian Federation is unable to meddle in our elections, as they have done in the past", she added, insisting she is "interpreting" Trump, not "reversing" him. "I think President Putin knows that better than anybody, certainly a lot better than the media, " Trump told reporters.
"My people came to me - [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats came to me and some others - they said they think it's Russian Federation". "And here we are almost two decades later, and I'm here to say, the warning lights are blinking red again".
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Some lawmakers were also upset that Mr Trump had refused to offer specific criticisms of Russian Federation and Mr Putin, instead saying both countries were responsible for poor relations.
He did not reverse other statements in which he gave clear credence to Mr Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denial of Russian involvement, raised doubts about his own intelligence agencies' conclusions and advanced discredited conspiracy theories about election meddling.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump claimed that no United States president has been as "tough" as him on Russian Federation. "But what I can tell you is that the overall assertions that have come out of the Russian government are absolutely absurd".
President Donald Trump, Melania, and Putin posed for a photo before the two presidents' one-on-one meeting and joint press conference.
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"It's insane and should be called insane and outrageous, not just by me, but by the USA government", McFaul said. "But he does believe that they would target, certainly, USA elections again", Sanders said.
Putin raised the idea in his summit talks with President Donald Trump on Monday, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
He had made the original comments standing alongside Vladimir Putin on a stage in Helsinki. Trump chose before, ultimately putting the issue into the spotlight just 72 hours before the high-stakes meeting, the people said.
The two presidents held a two-hour closed-door negotiation with no other officials present save for the leaders' interpreters.
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The allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election overshadowed the summit between Putin and Trump. I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russian Federation. "I hope the President will take the word of our intelligence agencies rather than the empty words of a dictator". "I have no confidence in a guy like Brennan - I think he's a total low-life". Lindsey Graham, a Republican from SC, said he was happy to hear that Sanders had clarified Trump's comment.