US President Donald Trump has been forced to backtrack after a media storm following his seeming defence of Russia over claims of meddling in his country’s presidential elections in 2016.
Republican and Democrat politicians in the US, as well as intelligence officials, on Monday denounced Trump’s failure to challenge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over interference in the elections, calling his responses at a joint news conference in Finland as “shameful” and “disgraceful”.
Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Trump said he misspoke when he addressed reporters in Helsinki a day earlier.
“I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,'” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.'”
He also said he accepts the conclusion by US intelligence officials that Moscow interfered in the election, which saw Trump defeat Democrat rival Hillary Clinton .