Donald Trump made a statement to press on the Putin summit in which he sided with the Russian president over the U.S. intelligence establishment.
Trump said that his Helsinki summit with Putin was the “most successful visit” about “the most pressing issues facing humanity.” He claimed that the U.S. relationship with Russia is now “substantially better” after the summit.
Then Trump said that he has faith in the U.S. intelligence establishment’s conclusion that Russia interfered, and then completely undercut that assertion by saying it could also be somebody else.
“I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies….always have…. I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling took place (though) it could be other people also. There was no collusion at all.”
Trump claimed that he misspoke at the summit and said “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia” rather than “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.”
Trump’s absurd explanation: “The sentence should have been ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,’ sort of a double negative. So you can put that in and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself. I have on numerous occasions noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections.”
BREAKING: President Trump claims he misspoke while discussing election meddling during news conference with Putin: "In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't.' … The sentence should've been: 'I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia'" pic.twitter.com/2bA9EionD1
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 17, 2018
Trump didn't misspeak. But if he did, wouldn't he have corrected himself earlier? Wouldn't one of his press secretaries have urgently issued a statement? Wouldn't Dan Coats have said as much? Instead, none of that happened. Officials were speechless.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) July 17, 2018