A day after back-tracking, Trump defends summit performance

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In Helsinki, Putin said he had indeed wanted Trump to win the election - a revelation that might have made more headlines if not for Trump's performance - but had taken no action to make it happen.

Corker, who will retire at the end of this Congress and who has been a critic of the president, said on Twitter he thought the "dam is finally breaking" on congressional opposition to some of Trump's most controversial policies, including his engagement with Putin and protectionist trade policies that have fueled new trade wars with European allies and China. "Big results will come!" Those comments, delivered alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit press conference Monday, had prompted blistering, bipartisan criticism at home. As he affirmed his support for USA intelligence agencies, the lights went to black in the White House conference room.

Democrats and several high-ranking Republicans condemned Trump's comments in Helsinki, saying he accepted Putin's assertions there was no Russian government-ordered campaign to swing the 2016 election in his favor, despite assessments to the contrary by the US intelligence community.

In a joint press conference, Putin said that the leaders touched on issues including tensions on the Korean peninsula and the situation in Syria during their first summit. "And I think we're all to blame".

In the hours after Trump's disastrous summit with Putin, White House officials gave the Washington Post conflicting accounts of Trump's take on the indictments. "I entered the negotiations with President Putin from a position of tremendous strength".

"I treat President Trump with utmost respect, but back then when he was a private individual, a businessman, nobody informed me that he was in Moscow".

Trump's praise for Putin highlights the gap between the president and the rest of his administration when it comes to Russian Federation, a divide that has left European allies scratching their heads.

Trump said Tuesday he misspoke a day earlier when he didn't back up findings by the U.S. intelligence community that Russian Federation had meddled in the 2016 USA presidential election.

House Speaker Paul Ryan quickly condemned Trump's comments, though he did not name Trump.

In response, Trump thanked Russian Federation for its cooperation in the "helping of people" in the deliverance of humanitarian aid and the eradication of 98 percent of Islamic State forces in Syria, while also praising the military relationship between the two countries.

Aside from questions over the election, the United States and Russia remain far apart on major issues, such as the Syria conflict, Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the U.S. backing for the UK over the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

"The president must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally", Ryan said. "So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself", the president said, reading from a printed script marked with the words, "There was No Collusion".

When he said he couldn't see how it "would" have been Russian Federation that was responsible for election interference, he says he actually meant to say he couldn't see how it "wouldn't" have been Russian Federation.

"I realize there is a need for some clarification", he said.

"It came down to the wire, and on the day of the contest, we still didn't know whether there would be a meeting or whether there would be a call", Goldstone said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump has done "deep damage" to the country.

"A lot of them privately and publicly used a muscle that had atrophied and they criticised the President", he told ABC Radio's PM.

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