Trump, Now Acknowledging Russian Interference, Claims It's Aimed At Helping Dems

President Donald Trump meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Helsinki

President Trump has delayed a follow-up meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin until after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election is finished, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday.

Trump walked back his comments on Russian Federation the day after his appearance with Putin, though he later cast doubt on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 race.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hands U.S. President Donald Trump (L) a World Cup football during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland.

During his public appearances with Putin in Helsinki, Trump suggested he believed the Russian president's denial that his intelligence officers interfered with the USA election.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded, with a subsequent endorsement from the Senate intelligence committee, that Russia's active measures in 2016 were meant to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump get elected.

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The White House said the transcript has been updated for presidential records.

"Yes, I did. Yes, I did", one can hear Putin respond, through the translator.

Mason asked Putin: "Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?" House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to distance the House of Representatives from the invitation by saying that Putin would not be invited to address Congress in the U.S. Capitol because "that is something we reserve for allies".

Two-thirds of Americans - 69 percent - also think Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election.

As evidence of this toughness, the president often points to sanctions on Russian oligarchs that he signed into law in August 2017, and to the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats from the United States in March 2018, in response to the almost fatal nerve agent attack on a Russian former double agent in Britain.

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The US President backed up his eyebrow-raising statement by insisting "no President has been tougher on Russian Federation than me" and "they definitely don't want Trump!" Bolton suggested the decision not to meet sooner was due to special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Reflecting the unease among US lawmakers, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that Putin would not be invited to address Congress or visit the Capitol if he accepted Trump's invitation.

"I find it very worrisome that a week after the Helsinki press conference that the White House would not have corrected the record by now", Indira Lakshmanan, the Newmark chair in journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute, said in an interview.

Russian business people had hoped the Helsinki meeting, the first between the two presidents, would pave the way for a possible thaw in relations and delay, if not stop, the preparation of more sanctions which have followed thick and fast since Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

Referring to an economic forum in St Petersburg Trump had attended with 500 other businesspeople, Putin said: "Do you think that we try to collect compromising material on each and every single one of them?"

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The White House's video and written transcripts appear to have omitted the first part of Mason's question - when he asked whether Putin favored Trump during the election - and only include the second. He added that he felt Putin is an enemy of the USA but that "it's OK to talk to your enemies".

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