Donald Trump backtracks on Helsinki remarks, says he 'misspoke'

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands before attending a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki

"So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki", Mr. Trump wrote in an early morning tweet Wednesday. Republican Patriots: "Where are you???" "It was fantastic and very, very disturbing". "He has got to be celebrating on the way home to Moscow".

On the other hand, the Trump-supporting news site Breitbart lauded the summit as "a success the media can't admit".

"President Putin says it's not Russian Federation".

Another senior Republican, Senator John McCain, said it was "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory".

'The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.' Sort of a double negative, ' he added, repeating the laborious clarification several times.

"No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant".

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who called Russia's government "menacing", said he would consider additional sanctions on Russian Federation and reiterated his support for US intelligence findings that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election. The United States has joined the United Kingdom in accusing Russian Federation of being behind this year's Novichok nerve agent attack, which killed one person and badly sickened several more in England.

In the House, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi staged a vote in support of the intelligence committee's findings that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 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".

Trump had said there were "two thoughts" on the matter, and "I have confidence in both parties".

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued strong words of support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that Trump had criticised during an alliance summit days before his meeting with Putin.

Former House speaker and longtime Trump ally Newt Gingrich put it bluntly.

Shortly after refusing to condemn Putin and back the US intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation had interfered with the 2016 US Presidential election, Trump was met with a wave of criticism from both parties. In addition to consulting Trump, Kelly called Republicans and gave them permission to denounce Trump's remarks, according to three Vanity Fair sources familiar with the situation.

At a news conference afterwards, Mr Trump was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to allegations of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Some US politicians had called for the summit to be cancelled after 12 Russian military intelligence agents were indicted last week, accused of hacking Mrs Clinton's election campaign.

"You know, Russian Federation and the United States control 90% of the nuclear weapons in the world and getting along with Russian Federation - and not only for that reason - it's a good thing, not a bad thing", he said. "I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be".

Democrats also sounded alarm. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted, "For the President to side with Putin over his own intelligence officials and blame the United States for Russia's attack on our democracy is a complete disgrace". On Tuesday, Trump attempted to clean up the controversy when he said he had misspoken during the news conference and affirmed that he has "full faith and support for America's intelligence agencies". "That must be the intelligence agencies".

A day later, US lawmakers continued to condemn Trump's performance. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be.

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