U.S. President Donald Trump has backtracked on comments in which he said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pledge that Russia didn’t meddle in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump made the comments before a meeting at the White House with top GOP members on Tuesday afternoon.
He received harsh backlash for his comments made after a summit with Putin on Monday, in which he said he doesn’t see “any reason why” Russia would interfere.
On Tuesday he clarified, saying he meant to say that he saw no reason why it would not be Russia that interfered in the elections, and that he had full faith in U.S. intelligence.
“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 wouldn’t or why it wouldn’t be Russia. So just to repeat it, I said the word would instead of wouldn’t,” Trump told reporters.
“The sentence should’ve been I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia, sort of a double negative.”
Trump also said he believes that Russian meddling took place in the 2016 presidential election, but that it did not change the election’s outcome.
“The full faith and support for America’s intelligence agencies – I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies,” Trump said.
Among other things discussed at the one-on-one meeting were the topics of North Korea, Syria, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Earlier in the day, Trump said on Twitter that the meeting between the two world leaders went “better than even expected.”
Following Trump’s statement, a number of celebrities shared their thoughts on social media.
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