U.S. election meddling: Trump reverses course again

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President Donald Trump said Wednesday he holds Russian President Vladimir Putin "responsible" for Russian interfering with the US election in 2016, even as he declined to call him out as a liar in an interview with CBS News Wednesday.

In exchange, Putin told Trump he's prepared to let the USA access Russian intelligence officials who have been accused of meddling in the 2016 election.

Trump's comments floored people across the political spectrum, including lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, intelligence veterans, and even some of his allies.

The White House said on Wednesday that Trump would meet with his team about U.S officials being questioned by Russian Federation.

When asked if she was reversing what the president had said, she answered: "I'm interpreting it, not reversing it". On Friday of last week was when Mueller issued the indictments against the 12 [Russian military intelligence agency] officers for hacking the USA election. In Aspen tomorrow, he's expected to outline the cyberthreats the United States faces from Russian Federation as well as other countries, such as China, North Korea and Iran.

"What I find absolutely remarkable ... is they'd had 27 hours to figure out, 'How are we going to deal with this?' And you supposedly have the best spin doctors working for the White House", Dori said.

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During a contentious press briefing on Wednesday, NBC's Hallie Jackson pushed back on President Donald Trump's repeated reversals over Russian Federation.

"Many of the stories written about me, and the good people surrounding me, are total fiction", he said.

Cecilia Vega, the ABC News reporter who asked the question, said on Twitter that she believes the president heard her clearly.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a congressional committee in February he already had seen evidence Russian Federation was targeting November's elections when Republican control of the House of Representatives and Senate is at stake.

What drew particular skepticism was Trump's explanation that he misspoke one word, that he meant to say "wouldn't" and not "would", as in "I don't see any reason why it would" be Russian Federation.

The White House has struggled to contain the fallout from a news conference from Helsinki, in which Mr Trump, standing next to Mr Putin, said he "didn't see any reason" why Russian Federation would be involved in USA election meddling.

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"Well, I would, because he's in charge of the country". It would have just made things worse if I had stood next to him and called him a liar. The Magnitsky Act targets certain Russian officials and business leaders linked to human-rights abuses with sanctions. But in return, Putin said he would expect the U.S. to allow Russian investigators to question what he called fugitives on American soil.

In the interview, Trump said he has confidence in the intelligence agencies as they are now constituted - but he had harsh words for several previous senior intelligence officials, including ex-CIA chief John Brennan and James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence.

Contrary to the USA government's fears leading up to the 2016 president election, hacking the nation's election infrastructure appeared to take a back seat to stealing and leaking salacious documents from the Democratic National Committee and House Democrats' campaign arm to destabilize public opinion.

"I've been trying my best to give the President the benefit of the doubt and always expressed potential other theories as to why he behaves as he does with respect to Russian Federation generally and Putin specifically", Clapper told CNN Thursday.

Brennan, who served as Central Intelligence Agency director from 2013 to 2017, issued a scathing tweet after Trump's Helsinki summit. And while he reiterated that he thought special counsel Robert Mueller III should be allowed to finish his probe, Ryan did not promise to let up on Republican attempts to undermine the investigation.

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