White House has a hard time to contain fallout from Trump-Putin top

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House struggled on Wednesday to consist of the furor over President Donald Trump’& rsquo; s heavily criticized summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, rejecting Trump ever indicated to say that Moscow was not targeting the United States.

Trump, facing a political outcry over his failure to face Putin over Russia’& rsquo; s 2016 U.S. election meddling, adopted his usual bold posture 2 days after their Helsinki top and called his critics deranged.

Asked by a journalist before an early morning Cabinet meeting at the White Home whether Russia was still targeting the United States, Trump looked at the reporter, shook his head and stated, “& ldquo;

No. & rdquo; At a later briefing, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders stated the president was saying “& ldquo; no & rdquo; to responding to questions, not to the question itself.

American intelligence authorities have said Russia’& rsquo; s efforts to weaken U.S. elections are continuing and now target the Nov. 6 congressional races. Sanders stated Trump thinks the danger from Russia to undermine the midterm elections still exists.

“& ldquo; The president has actually made clear to Vladimir Putin that he should avoid of U.S. elections,” & rdquo; Sanders stated. & ldquo; The president and his administration are working extremely hard to make sure that Russia is not able to meddle in our elections, as they have done in the past.”

& rdquo; It was the 2nd time considering that Monday’& rsquo; s top that Trump and the White House have actually blamed a misstatement or misunderstanding for the furor over Russia.

On Tuesday, Trump stated he misspoke at a Helsinki news conference with Putin which he accepted intelligence company conclusions about Russian election meddling, although he hedged by deviating from his ready notes to say “& ldquo; it could be other individuals also. There’& rsquo; s a great deal of people out there”

. & rdquo; Trump stunned the world on Monday by avoiding criticizing the Russian leader for Moscow’& rsquo; s actions to weaken the 2016 governmental election, sparking bipartisan fury in your home and prompting calls by some U.S. lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to penalize Russia.

Critics have implicated Trump of siding with Russia over his own country by failing to slam Moscow for what U.S. intelligence companies last year referred to as Russia’& rsquo; s election disturbance in an attempt to plant discord, aid Trump’& rsquo; s candidateship and disparage Trump’& rsquo; s Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.

Putin has actually denied the accusations.

U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet conference at the White Home in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

‘& lsquo;

“DOING EXTREMELY WELL & rsquo; & ldquo; We & rsquo; re doing really well, most likely as well as anybody has ever made with Russia. And there’& rsquo; s been no president ever as hard as I have been on Russia,” & rdquo; Trump said prior to the Cabinet meeting, adding that Putin “& ldquo; understands it and he’& rsquo; s not pleased about it.”

& rdquo; In a series of early morning Twitter posts, the Republican president said the summit would eventually produce “& ldquo; big results & rdquo; and accused his critics of “& ldquo; Trump Derangement Syndrome. & rdquo; & ldquo; Some individuals HATE the truth that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’& rsquo; s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!” & rdquo; the president composed.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a congressional committee in February he currently had actually seen evidence Russia was targeting U.S. elections in November, when Republican control of your house of Representatives and Senate is at stake.

In rebutting Trump’& rsquo; s dismissive comments about U.S. intelligence on Monday, Coats said, “& ldquo; We have actually been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

& rdquo; Leading Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Trump required to get up to Russia’& rsquo; s efforts to interfere in American elections.

“& ldquo; We won & rsquo; t be able, as a country, to eliminate back versus foreign interference in our elections if the Commander in Chief doesn’& rsquo; t even acknowledge that it’& rsquo; s a genuine problem,” & rdquo; Schumer stated in a declaration.

Republican Senator John McCain implicated Trump of “& ldquo; playing right into Putin’& rsquo; s hands & rdquo; with the president & rsquo; s remarks in a Fox News interview on Tuesday that appeared to question the American dedication to safeguard all NATO allies.

Asked why Americans must protect NATO member Montenegro from attack, Trump said, “& ldquo; I & rsquo; ve asked the exact same question. Montenegro is a small country with very strong individuals. … They are really aggressive people, they might get aggressive, and congratulations, you are in World War Three.”

& rdquo; Montenegro joined NATO last year in defiance of Moscow after implicating Russian spies of orchestrating a tried coup to thwart the accession.

In his morning tweets, Trump stated he generated a pledge from Putin during their meeting to assist negotiations with North Korea, however did not say how. Trump fulfilled North Korea’& rsquo; s Kim Jong Un last month, and recently received a letter from Kim expressing wish for “& ldquo; useful actions” & rdquo; in the future as the United States looking for Pyongyang’& rsquo; s denuclearization.

Slideshow (7 Images) Russia’& rsquo; s RIA news agency, mentioning Moscow’& rsquo; s envoy to Pyongyang, reported that a top between the leaders of Russia and North Korea is “& ldquo; on the agenda & rdquo; which it would be & ldquo; sensible & rdquo; to raise the concept of lifting sanctions.

Extra reporting by Denis Pinchuk in Moscow, Alison Williams in London, Amanda Becker, Sarah Lynch and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington; Writing by John Whitesides; Modifying by Mary Milliken and Will Dunham

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