Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Donald Trump backtracks on comments over Russian election meddling

US President Donald Trump has said he meant the opposite when he said in Helsinki that he does not see why Russia would have interfered in the 2016 US election.

On Tuesday, the president told reporters that he said he meant he does not see why Russia “wouldn’t” be responsible.

He also said he accepts the American intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the election, but he denied that his campaign had colluded in the effort.

Donald Trump has reversed his position on Russian interference in the US presidential election. Credit: PA

Mr Trump spoke a day after returning to the US to nearly universal condemnation of his performance in Helsinki.

His apparent willingness to side with Russia over his own intelligence agencies has been met with disbelief in many circles.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia tried to assist Mr Trump's 2016 White House bid using cyber attacks and planting fake news stories on social media, and last week 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted by the Mueller investigation on hacking charges.

Donald Trump shakes hands with Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. Credit: AP

At a press conference on Monday, Mr Trump said he didn't "see any reason why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election" and that, although he has "great confidence" in US intelligence, Mr Putin had been "extremely strong and powerful in his denial".

Mr Putin said he wanted Mr Trump to win the race against Democrat Hillary Clinton.