Trump says he holds Putin personally responsible for election meddling

U.S. President Donald Trump		
			Antti Aimo Koivisto  AP

U.S. President Donald Trump Antti Aimo Koivisto AP

The president said that he meant to say he doesn't see why Russian Federation "wouldn't" be responsible.

"I think sometimes the president conflates flattery towards him, kindness towards him, with what policies are best for our country's citizens", he said. "What has Russian Federation done to advance the U.S.'s interest?" That came only days after National Intelligence Director Dan Coats sounded an alarm, comparing the cyberthreat today to the way USA officials said before 9/11 that intelligence channels were "blinking red" with warning signs that a terror attack was imminent.

At the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington last Friday, Coats said, "We are not yet seeing the kind of electoral interference in specific states and voter data bases that we experienced in 2016; however, we fully realize that we are just one click on a keyboard away from a similar situation repeating itself".

In his remarks, Coats said that the intelligence community continues to see efforts by Russian actors to manipulate US public opinion, including through the use of fake social media accounts. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said on MSNBC.

His reservations, expressed 18 months into his presidency and as he stood standing next to Putin on foreign soil, prompted blistering criticism at home, even from prominent fellow Republicans. Lindsey Graham pointed to "a big discrepancy" between Trump's latest statement and Coates' warning.

We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. In exchange, Putin wants Russian interviews of Americans accused by the Kremlin of unspecified crimes.

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On Monday, Trump appeared to question the findings of USA intelligence agencies that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election.

Trump made the comment at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

He said "people at the higher ends of intelligence loved" his press conference with Mr Putin.

At that Helsinki press conference following his meeting with Putin on Monday, Trump was asked if he had confronted Putin about Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

In a subsequent tweet Wednesday, Trump claimed that a meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Brussels last week was an "acknowledged triumph" and that his summit with Putin "may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success".

But now the dynamic with the former Soviet Union is different, he said, and because of that he trusts that Trump is doing the right thing, even if the end game isn't exactly clear.

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"Just because the Soviet Union broke apart, doesn't mean they stopped being our enemy", she said of Russian Federation. "Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting".

"We're doing very well, probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russian Federation".

Trump returned to the subject of his relationship with Putin later Wednesday morning, asserting that some people would rather go to war than see him get along well with Putin. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who was one of his most vocal defenders in the wake of the Helsinki summit. Others say Trump's relationship with Putin, whatever it may be, is positive for the US, and won't change their minds about their president. "They go against USA interests". "It's called Trump Derangement Syndrome!" They were once Republican rivals for the White House.

Putin offered to question the 12 indicted for meddling in the election, and added that Mueller's team of investigators could be present for questioning, if US officials would "reciprocate".

Asked if he holds Putin personally responsible, Trump tells CBS, "I would, because he's in charge of the country". Explained Trump: "In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word "would" instead of 'wouldn't'".

He said Trump has his own style as a businessman, but "it's a whole lot easier to go around wrecking everything and to be a wrecking ball of relationships that have existed for 70 years" than to work together with people. "Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election", Trump said.

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