PV International Desk : The White House struggled on Wednesday to contain a political outcry and confusion over US President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, denying Trump ever meant to say that Moscow was no longer targeting the United States.
Asked by a journalist before a morning Cabinet meeting whether Russia was still targeting the United States, Trump looked at the reporter, shook his head and said, “No.”
At a later briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president was saying “no” to answering questions, not to the question itself.
US intelligence officials have said Russia’s efforts to undermine elections are continuing and now target the Nov 6 congressional races. Sanders said Trump believes the threat from Russia to undermine those elections still exists.
Asked later in an interview with CBS News whether he held Putin personally responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, Trump said he did.
“Well, I would, because he’s in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country,” he said.
The US president said that in his talks with Putin, he was “very strong on the fact that we can’t have meddling, we can’t have any of that.” But Trump also appeared to question whether such statements would have an impact on Russia. “We’re also living in a grown-up world,” he said.
Sanders explanation of Trump’s “No” was the second time since Monday’s summit that Trump and the White House have blamed a misstatement or misunderstanding for the furore over Russia.