Pence, Pompeo urged Trump to 'make clarifications' on Russian Federation meddling

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin

President Donald Trump had the words "THERE WAS NO COLUSION" scrawled in bold, black pen across his typed press conference notes on Tuesday, as he back peddled on remarks made Monday during his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump, who had been given numerous opportunities to publicly rebuke Putin in Helsinki, praised the Russian leader during the news conference for his "strong and powerful" denial of the conclusions of USA intelligence agencies that the Russian state meddled in the election.

Speaking from a meeting with Republican lawmakers at the White House, Trump said he had "full faith" in USA intelligence agencies, and wanted to clarify his statements from the day before.

At the summit, Trump appeared to favor Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of Russian meddling over the assessment of USA intelligence agencies that Russia did try to interfere.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday described the probe by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Moscow's election meddling as "political games" that should not be permitted to interfere with US-Russia relations.

They added that Trump's "cursory description" of the meeting did not assuage their concerns and "we as a nation must now wonder exactly what you discussed and may have promised to President Putin". "President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued strong words of support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that Trump had criticised during an alliance summit days before his meeting with Putin.

Trump said he accepted the intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation had meddled in the election, and offered a rambling explanation of his assertion that he could not see "any reason" why Russian Federation would interfere.

Trump said, as he has countless times, that there was "no collusion" between his campaign and the Russians.

Yet the prime minister's refusal to comment on the Trump-Putin meeting, despite Canada's strong views on Russian Federation, highlights the difficulty he continues to face when it comes to the US president, says University of Ottawa professor Roland Paris, who served as Trudeau's first foreign-policy adviser.

More news: Putin thanks Finnish leadership for opportunity to meet Trump

Trump has incomparably more influence with the base than the Republican Party's leaders in Congress: outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. President Putin is going to be involved in the sense that he is with us.

Some lawmakers said they would seek remedies against Russian Federation in Congress.

In the Senate, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top officials to appear before Congress and tell exactly what happened during Trump's two-hour private session with Putin.

But while the USA leader expressed his "full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies", he insisted that "Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election".

"The sentence should have been: "I don't see any reason why I wouldn't" or "why it wouldn't be Russia".

It remains to be seen if anyone bought the horseradish the White House ladled out in a fitting finish to Trump's Scorched Earth European Tour that also included his undercutting of Brit PM Theresa May and disrespecting Queen Elizabeth, as well as his performance as Putin's lapdog at the Helsinki presser.

In a rare move, McCain sided with everyone else on the panel on Tuesday, speaking out against Trump's press conference and calling it, flat out, "the worst day of his presidency".

The Democratic mayor and frequent Trump critic doesn't think the Republican president did so hot.

Immediately after his news conference, Trump's mood was buoyant, people familiar with the matter said.

Those include Russia's annexation of Crimea, its support for rebel forces in eastern Ukraine and Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria, as well as its alleged use of chemical weapons in Britain, which Moscow has denied. The meeting resulted in a determination that Trump would need to clarify his remarks.

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