Donald Trump claims he warned Vladimir Putin against election meddling

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He also lashed out at Europe and US-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, saying Russian Federation would hit back with an "equivalent response" to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bases near Russia's borders and other "aggressive steps".

In a later briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that Trump's "no" actually meant he was not taking any more questions from reporters. Get out. And demand that Russian Federation stay away when it comes to our elections.

On Tuesday, however, Trump backtracked and claimed that he had misspoken - that he had, in fact, meant to say that he did believe that Russian Federation had interfered in the election. "And when you put it together with Trump's statements, his affinity toward Putin, his willingness to concede to Russian Federation, his cold shoulder toward the US's closest allies ... at some point you have to start thinking the unthinkable, which is that the president of the United States may have been compromised by Russian Federation".

"No, you don't believe that to be the case?" the reporter asked over the din.

He appeared to respond again: "No".

One current USA diplomat, who said he was "at a f-- loss", called the development a step back in United States diplomacy, according to The Daily Beast.

Trump also went after former top intelligence officials when asked if they were 'out to get you'.

Later, Ms Vega tweeted that the president had been looking directly at her when he answered.

One day after President Donald Trump clarified that he believes Russian Federation likely interfered in the 2016 presidential election, he said Wednesday he thinks the Kremlin no longer targeting the USA and its elections.

"The way he delivered his statement of retreat was classic Trump, a dual message - a ritual statement of confidence in US intelligence officials for those who insist that the president respect the nation's systems and mores, but also winks and nods to those who like Trump expressly because he's eager to smash china and topple tradition. So, certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes", Trump said.

Mr Trump adopted his usual defiant posture yesterday over the furore, calling his critics deranged.

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Despite the controversy, Republican voters seem to be sticking by Mr Trump.

Trump, by contrast, has come under widespread domestic criticism about the meeting both from Democratic opponents and senior Republicans.

Some 71% of Republicans polled approved of his response to Russian Federation, while only 14% of Democrats were in favour.

The cable news morning show had played clips of the president's interview with CBS anchor Jeff Glor where Trump took a much tougher line on Putin.

Media captionTrump says he "misspoke" at Putin summit, but is it too late?

Democrats and some members of Trump's own Republican Party have criticized him for accepting at face value Putin's denial that Russian Federation interfered in the vote.

Sanders then claimed it was not a reversal, she was just interpreting what POTUS said.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the upper house of Parliament's foreign affairs committee, said the idea sets a unsafe precedent that threatens "the whole idea of diplomacy", according to Russian news agencies. The shifting stance came Wednesday as Trump spent more time managing the fallout from his widely criticized summit with Putin in Helsinki.

"I think one of the problems with the attitude around the world of Donald Trump is that people are either totally for him or totally against him".

People want to see President Donald Trump's tax returns after his widely-panned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I think the best art can change people's perception of how they see how they are as human beings", says Burson.

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