Trump Strikes Back After Criticism Of Helsinki Summit With Putin

President Trump attempted Tuesday to douse the political firestorm over his kid-glove treatment of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Republican leaders were already preparing an end run around the White House with legislation to stop Moscow from meddling in U.S. elections again.

Mr. Trump reaffirmed his full faith in U.S. intelligence agencies and their conclusion that Moscow tampered with the 2016 presidential election. He insisted that he misspoke when he raised doubts about his views on the Russian cyberattack on the election while standing beside Mr. Putin after their meeting Monday in Helsinki.

He misspoke, the president said Tuesday, when he said in front of the microphones a day earlier that he “didn’t know why it would be” Russia that interfered.

What he meant to say, he said, was: “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.”

The president also vowed to stop Russia or any other country from cyberattacks on this year’s midterm elections.

“Unlike previous administrations, my administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repeal [it], and we will stop it, we will repel it — any efforts to interfere in our elections,” he said. “We’re doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018.”

For the president’s base, his performance in Helsinki threatened to dent his image as a fearless bare-knuckle negotiator.

“It hurts his brand with his supporters,” said Republican Party strategist Ford O’Connell, who predicted Mr. Trump would rebound. “He came in as a law-and-order guy, and in that respect that’s what he has to repair.”

Read more from S.A. Miller at the Washington Times

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