In Helsinki, President Trump said of meddling in the 2016 election: "I have President Putin, he just said it's not Russia; I will say this: I don't say any reason why it would be." Tuesday, the day after, Trump said he meant to say the word "wouldn't."
President Trump, seeking to stanch a national furor, said on Tuesday that he misspoke in Helsinki, Finland, and meant to say that he indeed does see Russia as the culprit that interfered in the 2016 presidential election, just as U.S. intelligence agencies have found.
The president's comments were unlikely to satisfy his critics in both parties. His new version was undercut by his fuller and widely watched remarks on Monday. Also, Trump no longer was speaking alongside Russia's President Vladimir Putin, but addressing reporters from the White House alongside Republican lawmakers.
In his attempt to walk back his Helsinki remarks, Trump said he accepts the consensus of American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election. Yet in a sign that he cannot fully accept those findings — seeing them as a challenge to his legitimacy — he added that it "could be other people also." That assertion is not supported by known intelligence.