President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that he does “accept” the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
Earlier, unbowed by the broad condemnation of his extraordinary embrace of a longtime U.S. enemy, Trump had declared that his summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin went “even better” than his meeting with NATO allies last week in Brussels.
The tweeted defense came a day after Trump openly questioned his own intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election to his benefit, and he seemed to accept Putin’s insistence that Moscow’s hands were clean.
Trump’s reference to his NATO performance carried an edge, too, since the barrage of criticism and insults he delivered there was not generally well-received. He dismissed it all with a new attack on an old target: the news media. He said his NATO meeting was “great” but he “had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!”
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday he’s willing to consider additional sanctions on Russia, but did not suggest the House will be responding legislatively any time soon.
He reiterated what he said Monday, insisting that Russia did interfere in the 2016 elections and is a “menacing government” that does not share U.S. values and that Mueller should be allowed to finish his investigation.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called for immediate hearings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top officials to learn more about Trump’s one-on-one meeting with the Russia leader.