President Donald Trump said at a press conference Tuesday that he misspoke at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin a day earlier and that he accepts the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
"Let me be totally clear in saying that–and I've said this many times– I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," Trump said.
He then added a caveat, saying, "could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there." And he reiterated his stance that there was "no collusion" between his campaign and the Russian government.
Trump was criticized by politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle after he said Monday during a press conference with Putin that he didn't "see any reason why" Russia would be behind election meddling.
Tuesday, he explained he meant the opposite:
I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realized there is a need for some clarification. It should have been obvious, I thought it would be obvious, but I would like to clarify just in case it wasn't. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said ‘would' instead of ‘wouldn't.' The sentence should have been ‘I don't see any reason why I wouldn't or why it wouldn't be Russia.' So, just to repeat it, I said the word ‘would' instead of ‘wouldn't.'
"Sort of a double negative," Trump said.
Trump stated the White House will move aggressively to prevent Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections.
The president also commented generally on his meeting with Putin, saying he thought it was "very, very good."
"I think the meeting I had with President Putin was really strong. I think that they were willing to do things that, frankly, I wasn't sure they'd be willing to do. And we'll be having future meetings and we'll see if that comes to fruition," Trump said. "We had a very, very good meeting."
He concluded by emphasizing his respect the U.S. intelligence community.
"We have tremendous people, tremendous talent … and we all want the same thing, we want success for our country," he said.