Putin ‘PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE’ for election meddling says Trump in latest clarification

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President Donald Trump has said he holds Russian President Vladimir Putin personally responsible for Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Trump had earlier talked of an offer by Vladimir Putin for Russia to help with the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In comments that he walked back more than 24 hours later, Trump said that he did not see any reason why Russian Federation would have been behind interference in the election.

Jackson asked Sanders to name a time when Trump has publicly called out Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, Trump was asked if he agreed with the USA intelligence assessment that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 elections.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, in the face of repeated questioning from reporters, insisted that Trump was saying "no" to further questions from reporters and not replying to the query about Russian Federation. Tuesday, the day after, Trump said he meant to say the word "wouldn't". "This is what he does. I'll tell you, though, it better not be [happening]". She went on to say that the president and his administration are "working very hard to make sure that Russian Federation is unable to meddle in our elections".

"You have people that said, "You should have gone up to him".

"Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along", he said.

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"If we're in the majority, we'll probably be more effective and you'd see a lot stronger things protecting American security than you will with this majority, which seems so afraid of President Trump".

John Thune, the Senate's third-ranking Republican leader, expressed resignation when asked whether he was satisfied with Trump's walk-back of his Helsinki remarks.

Trump also tweeted on Wednesday that his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels last week was an "acknowledged triumph", adding that his one-on-one with Putin "may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success".

Such conduct from Trump mirrors his response to the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and its violent aftermath in August, in which a counterprotester was murdered by a white supremacist who rammed into a crowd with his vehicle.

Trump said he was "very strong" on Putin during a private meeting at the Helsinki summit and suggested that his stance was firmer than President Barack Obama's.

Mr. Trump also expressed confidence in Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, whose dire warnings about US hacking vulnerabilities he had questioned in a previous interview. After discussing nuclear proliferation he said he would also bring up election meddling but added, "I don't think we'll have any 'Gee I did it, I did it, you got me.'" He added, "There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think". Then on Tuesday, Trump backpedaled and said he misspoke.

Yeah and I've said that before, Jeff.

On Twitter, Mr Trump said his critics were suffering from "Trump Derangement Syndrome". He also said he has faith in USA intelligence agencies.

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