WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will held an on-camera press briefing on Wednesday, just two days after President Trump’s press conference with Vladmir Putin in Finland where he stated that he didn’t see any reason why Russia would have interfered in the 2016 presidential election, despite the overwhelming evidence gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies and the indictments announced against 12 suspected Russian intelligence officials less than a week ago. (You can watch a live stream of the briefing at the bottom of this article)
Trump has since walked back some of his remarks. He returned to the United States on Tuesday to nearly universal condemnation and said in remarks to Republican congressional leaders that he has “full faith and support for America’s intelligence people and always have.” He said he misspoke while standing beside Putin and said the word “would” instead of “wouldn’t.”
After offering that clarification on Tuesday, Trump said on Wednesday that Russia is no longer targeting the United States. Trump was asked by a reporter at the end of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting whether he thinks Russia is still targeting the United States and he responded “no.” At the press briefing, Sanders said Trump was saying no to answering the question itself and that wasn’t his response to the actual question being asked.
After the summit in Helsinki, Trump refused to either condemn Russia’s interference in the election or say unequivocally that he believes American intelligence agencies over Russia’s denials of meddling. Democrats have called on Trump to release full notes from a nearly two-hour private meeting with Putin. Trump didn’t say whether he would do that, but said he and Putin “tackled” some of the most pressing world issues in the meeting. Among the topics were Israeli security, North Korea, Syria and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
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