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Trump 'Accepts' US Intel on Russia Meddling, Says 'Could Be Other People Also'

© Sputnik / Sergei Guneev / Go to the mediabankUS President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump - Sputnik International
US President Donald Trump spoke to US media in Washington on Tuesday afternoon about his one-on-one meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Emphasizing that he has full faith in and support for US intelligence agencies, and that he accepts the intelligence community's conclusions that Russian meddling took place, the president emphasized that perhaps "other people" were involved, and added that Russia's actions nevertheless had no impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.

"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," Trump said. "Could be other people also. A lot of people out there," he added.

U.S. President Donald Trump receives a football from Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their joint news conference after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018 - Sputnik International
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The president said he misspoke earlier on Russia's alleged meddling, saying he now sees no reason why Russia couldn't have meddled. 

"I realized that there is a need for some clarification," Trump said. "In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why I woudn’t or why it wouldn’t be Russia.’"

During his Monday meeting with Putin, Trump rejected the conclusion of US intelligence agencies about alleged Russian election meddling. During their joint press conference, Trump said that Putin had strongly denied Russian meddling in the US democratic process during their private meeting. The US president also emphatically stated that there had been "zero collusion" between himself and Moscow.

On Tuesday, Trump vowed that his administration would move aggressively to squash any attempt to interfere in the 2018 midterms.

"We are doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018, we have a lot of power," Trump told reporters.

Trump also listed the topics of discussion with Putin in Helsinki, saying they included the situations in North Korea and Syria, Israel's security, Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions,  and the need to reduce nuclear weapons proliferation. Trump said he hoped Iran would come to the table with the US on the possibility of making a new nuclear deal at some point in the future.

“Yesterday we made significant progress toward addressing some of the worst conflicts,” Trump told reporters at the White House.  “When I met with President Putin for about two and a half hours we talked about numerous things and among those things are the problems that you see in the Middle East where they’re very much involved and we’re very much involved.”

Trump said prior to a meeting with lawmakers at the White House on Tuesday that the summit with Putin in Helsinki the previous day was very strong and dialogue with Russia is highly important.

"Dialogue with Russia in this case because we’ve had such poor relationships for so many years, dialogue is a very important thing and it’s a very good thing," Trump told reporters. "I thought that the meeting that I had with President Putin was really strong."

Donald Trump also underscored that he prefers diplomacy and engagement with Putin rather than hostility and conflict.

El presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, durante la reunión con su homólogo ruso, Vladímir Putin - Sputnik International
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Also Tuesday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said there was "indisputable evidence" that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 race, and warned that "It really better not happen again in 2018." On Monday, Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said there was "no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.

Russia has dismissed claims of meddling and collusion with the Trump campaign as "nonsense." During Monday's summit, Putin offered assistance to special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, saying Russia would be willing to help in facilitating the questioning of Russian nationals recently charged with hacking the Democratic Party's servers in 2016.

As far as interference at the state level was concerned, Putin repeated sentiment he had expressed on many previous occasions, telling reporters that "Russia has never interfered and is not going to meddle in US internal affairs, including in the election process."

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