Trump: ‘I Accept Our Intelligence Community’s Conclusion’ That Russia Meddled in 2016 Election

Melanie Arter | July 17, 2018 | 3:53pm EDT
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President Donald J. Trump signs the guest book at Chequers in London, England on Friday, July 13, 2018 following a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom in Buckinghamshire, England. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

( - One day after returning home from Helsinki, Finland, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump clarified his comments on the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, saying that he agrees with their conclusion.

“I’ll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies - always had, and I have felt very strongly that while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that - and I’ve said this many times - I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. There’s a lot of people out there,” Trump said.


“There was no collusion at all, and people have seen that, and they’ve seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that. A lot of people have come out strongly on that,” the president said.

“I thought that I made myself very clear by having just reviewed the transcript. Now I have to say I came back, and I said, what is going on? What’s the big deal? So I got a transcript. I reviewed it. I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realize that there is a need for some clarification,” Trump explained. “It should have been obvious.

“I thought it would be obvious, but I would like to clarify just in case it wasn’t. 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,’” the president said.

“So just to repeat it, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,’ and the sentence should have been - and I thought I would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video - the sentence should have been, I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative,” he said.

“So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself. I have on numerous occasions noted our intelligence findings that Russia attempted to interfere in our elections,” Trump added.

When asked Monday whether he would denounce what happened in 2016 and warn Putin not to do it again, Trump asked why the FBI never took Hillary Clinton’s email server then said Putin told him Russia wasn’t to blame for meddling in the election.

“My people came to me -- Dan Coats came to me and some others -- they said they think it’s Russia. 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, but I really do want to see the server,” Trump said on Monday.

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