TIME cover morphs Donald Trump into Vladimir Putin
20 July, 2018, 04:14 | Author: Kim Reid
His unusually meek attitude to Putin has reignited old - and heavily denied - rumors that Putin has compromising material on Trump, which he is using as leverage.
"And I have felt very strongly that while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the [2016 US presidential] election, let me be totally clear in saying that - and I've said this manytimes - I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place", Trump continued, emphasizing that "there was no collusion - at all".
It was the latest about-face from the White House as it struggled to quiet the post-Helsinki summit uproar.
"It was successful overall and led to some useful agreements" Putin said, without elaborating on the agreements.
His reaction came as Trump fired off a series of tweets Thursday in which he slammed the "Fake News Media" for their "total fiction" reports - and accused the mainstream press of hoping for a confrontation between the two countries. They've got some big problems that they can solve, probably much easier if they deal with us.
In its cover story, Time writer Brian Bennett said, "A year and a half into his presidency, Trump's puzzling affinity for Putin has yet to be explained".
"That's not my role".
"Let's not forget that [the meddling] didn't happen under President Trump's watch. But that is the president's prerogative", Coats added.
That day, Coats issued a statement strongly rebuking the president: "We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective evidence in support of our national security".
"We see that there are forces in the United States that are prepared to casually sacrifice Russian-U.S. relations, to sacrifice them for their ambitions in an internal political battle in the United States", Putin said.
U.S. intelligence agencies allege Russian Federation did make a concerted effort to meddle in the vote, a charge Moscow has repeatedly denied.
That is in direct contradiction to a statement his director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, made on Monday. "I was just doing my job", he said. President, there will be times I have to bring news to you that you don't want to hear. "But know that it will to the best extent be unvarnished, non-politicised, and the best our incredible intelligence community can produce'".
He compared the "warning signs" to those the United States faced ahead of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and named the "worst offenders" as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea - with Russia the "most aggressive foreign actor, no question". He also warned of the need to be "ever-vigilant" and "relentless".
"Actually, I'm interpreting what the president was saying".
"The president has made clear to Vladimir Putin that he should stay out of USA elections", Sanders replied.
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The US leader later said he misspoke when he appeared to take Putin's denial of interference at face value and said he accepted the US intelligence community's view that Moscow sought to influence the 2016 vote.
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