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Trump: No Other President 'Tougher' on Russia

Trump: No Other President 'Tougher' on Russia

By    |   Wednesday, 18 July 2018 11:30 AM

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that "there's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia" and insisted that Russia is no longer targeting U.S. elections as he continued to address the fallout from his controversial statements in Helsinki that backed President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies.

"We're doing very well," Trump told reporters in brief remarks at the start of a Cabinet meeting at the White House. "We are doing very well.

"We're doing very well — probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russia.

"And there's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia," Trump said.

He also responded "no" when reporters asked whether Russia was still targeting American elections.

That assertion appeared to put the president again at odds Director of National Intelligence  Dan Coats, who said Monday that Russia was involved in "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy."

The president pointed to the continued economic sanctions on Moscow and the U.S. ambassadors he has pulled out of the country as evidence of his strong position against the Kremlin.

"All you have to do is look at the numbers," Trump said. "Look at what we've done.

"I think President Putin knows that better than anybody — certainly a lot better than the media.

"He understands it," Trump said, "and he's not happy about it.

"He shouldn't be happy about it because there's never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been."

Trump continues to face attacks over his statements while standing next to Putin in Finland Monday despite U.S. indictments last week of 12 Russian intelligence officers for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump said Tuesday that he misspoke at the joint news conference, adding that he endorsed the U.S. intelligence findings that Russia interfered in the contest.

"I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies," he said. "Always have."

In clarifying his Helsinki comments, Trump told reporters that what he meant to say was that saw no reason why Moscow would not have interfered in the election.

"In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't,'" the president said, reading from a statement. "The sentence should have been: 'I don't see any reason why I wouldn't or why it wouldn't be Russia.'"

But at the overseas session, Trump said: "I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia.

"I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be."

The blowback was immediate and intense — including attacks from top Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — and Trump also was widely slammed for Tuesday's walk-back.

Putin denied any involvement in the election at the news conference — and he bashed Friday's indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors as "dirty methods."
 

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Politics
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that "there's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia" as he continued to address the fallout from his controversial statements in Helsinki that backed President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies.
trump, cabinet
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2018-30-18
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 11:30 AM
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