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In a rare reversal, President Donald Trump has corrected comments he made during Monday's Helsinki press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid rising rebuke by Republicans and Democrats. Trump claims he now misspoke when he said he saw no reason why Russia would interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.
"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," Trump said in a White House press conference Tuesday. But in a sign he still doubted those findings, added: "It could be other people also. A lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all."
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he wasn't buying Trump's correction. "President Trump tried to squirm away from what he said yesterday. It's 24-hours late and in the wrong place," he said. "If the president can't say directly to President Putin that he is wrong and we are right and our intelligence agencies are right, it's ineffective and, worse, another sign of weakness."
The day before Trump's Helsinki comments, he had blamed the United States for sour relations with Russia and criticised the FBI, Democrats, Hillary Clinton and the special counsel's Russia investigation.