After backlash, Trump says misspoke on Russian election meddling
President Donald Trump was forced into a rare admission of error after a political firestorm following his defence of Russia over claims of meddling in the 2016 US elections.
Republican and Democrat politicians in the United States, as well as intelligence officials, denounced Trump's failure to challenge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over alleged interference in the elections, calling his responses at a joint news conference in Finland as ‘shameful’ and ‘disgraceful’.
Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Trump said he misspoke when he addressed reporters in Helsinki a day earlier, adding he accepts the intelligence community's assessment that Russia did meddle in the elections won by him.
‘I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't,' ‘Trump told reporters. "The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.’
But Trump maintained that Russia's action had no impact on the result, which saw him defeat Democrat rival Hillary Clinton, and denied his campaign had colluded in the effort.
In the Finnish capital on Monday, Trump refused to say he believed US intelligence agencies over Russia's denials of meddling and delivered no condemnation of Moscow's interference.