Trump Says he Made Mistake while Speaking on Russian Interference During Press Conference, Accepts U.S. Intel Findings

President Trump said Tuesday that he made a mistake rejecting allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, stating clearly that he accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions as he tried to put an end to a bipartisan firestorm over his press conference with Vladimir Putin, Fox News informed.

The President made clear what he meant when he spoke during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House, in a rare backtrack.

In Helsinki a day earlier, Trump had stated he doesn’t “see any reason why” Russia would be behind election interference. This and other comments led to bipartisan outrage and accusations that he was valuing Putin’s word more than the intelligence community’s.

But Trump said Tuesday he meant quite the opposite. He suggested he was surprised by the negative outburst when he came back to Washington.

“I came back and said ‘What is going on, what’s the big deal’?” Trump said, adding that he reviewed the transcript and “realized that there is a need for some clarification.”

The President told reporters that what he meant to say is that he doesn’t see why Russia “wouldn’t” be responsible.

“I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’ … sort of a double negative,” he said.

It’s not clear whether Trump’s correction will calm the backlash in Washington, as Trump also said following his meeting with Putin that the Russian leader gave a “strong and powerful” denial. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., kept up his criticism Tuesday afternoon, tweeting: “President Trump tried to squirm away from what he said yesterday. It’s twenty-four hours too late, and in the wrong place.”

But Trump sought to clarify Tuesday that he accepts the intelligence community.

“I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” he said, adding: “It could be other people also.”

Trump’s comments came after even his allies urged him to clean up the press conference statements from Finland. Until now, Trump had battled his critics via Twitter while defending his trip abroad.

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