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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Trump says he now accepts US finding that Russia meddled in election

The president came under a torrent of criticism from Democrats and Republicans for statements at Helsinki summit

Donald Trump speaks about his meeting with President Vladimir Putin ahead of a meeting with Republican lawmakers and cabinet members. AFP/NICHOLAS KAMM
Donald Trump speaks about his meeting with President Vladimir Putin ahead of a meeting with Republican lawmakers and cabinet members. AFP/NICHOLAS KAMM

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he accepts the conclusion by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election, marking a rare reversal from comments just a day before.

Trump came under a torrent of criticism from Democrats and Republicans for statements at his summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Monday casting doubt on U.S. findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Trump told reporters that he misspoke at the summit.

“My people came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said Monday, while standing next to Putin. “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. I have confidence in both parties.”

On Tuesday, he said he meant to say he didn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.

Republican lawmakers including House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker all publicly criticized Trump for his performance.

Several Republicans said they would consider new legislation to sanction Russia for future election meddling, after Trump declined an opportunity Monday to publicly warn Putin against such interference.