A day after the fallout from the Helsinki summit, Donald Trump is walking back statements he made about trusting Vladimir Putin’s word over that of his own Intelligence Community in regards to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
So there is absolutely no confusion over the question asked or the answer made, the full quotes from the transcript are here:
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders: The final question from the United States will go to Jonathan Lemire, from the AP.
Question: Thank you. A question for each President. President Trump, you first. Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. What — who — my first question for you, sir, is, who do you believe?
My second question is, would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin — would you denounce what happened in 2016? And would you warn him to never do it again?
Trump: So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months, and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server? And what is the server saying?
With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me — Dan Coats came to me and some others — they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia.
I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have — I have confidence in both parties. I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? Thirty-three thousand emails gone — just gone. I think, in Russia, they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.
So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer; he offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer.
Okay? Thank you.
Just after the lights flickered for a moment at today’s, July 17th, 2018, brief press conference, Trump walked back his statement of disbelief of the American Intelligence Communities’ findings. Trump stated that he had full faith in America’s Intelligence Community, explaining that while he feels Russia’s actions had no impact on the election results, he does accept Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. However, he did say, “Could be other people also.”
I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies, always have. And I have felt very strongly that while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election – let me be totally clear in saying that, and I’ve said this many times, “I accept our intelligence communities conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.” Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.
I realized that there is a need for some clarification. It should have been obvious, I thought it was obvious but I would like to clarify just in case it wasn’t.
In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word would, instead of wouldn’t. The sentence should have been, “I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t. Or why it wouldn’t be Russia.”
Trump also reiterated his position that there has been no collusion found between his campaign and Russia.
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