White House, officials clash over Putin's probe offer

President Trump & President Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Finland

The one-on-one meeting between Putin and Trump lasted more than two hours; later delegation members joined the presidents for a working lunch.

Earlier Wednesday at a cabinet meeting, Trump replied "no" when asked by reporters whether Russian Federation was still targeting the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018.

According to Trump, he was "Very strong on the fact that we can't have meddling, we can't have any of that".

The White House said on Wednesday that Trump would meet with his team about U.S officials being questioned by Russian Federation.

In light of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely denying that President Donald Trump said "no" when asked if Russian Federation is still targeting the US, The View co-host Sunny Hostin asked, "How can Sarah Sanders just lie like that?"

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Trump has been on a mission to reduce the US$552-billion USA trade deficit and rebuild the nation's manufacturing sector. Trump's comments are a break with tradition that presidents avoid commenting on the path of domestic monetary policy.

Even one of Mr Trump's most loyal Republican supporters, Newt Gingrich, said the comments were the "most serious mistake of his presidency".

He also said he had warned Vladimir Putin to stay out of American elections.

Conservatives almost unilaterally blasted the Justice Department for announcing the indictments just before Mr. Trump's meeting with Mr. Putin.

While taking questions from reporters at a cabinet meeting, Trump said "thank you very much, no" after ABC News White House correspondent Cecilia Vega asked whether the USA is still a target of Russian-led cyberattacks and meddling into U.S. elections - directly contradicting what director of national intelligence Dan Coats has said on the matter. If you're strong, we're going to galvanize people around you and you're going to win in November.

Trump said that he considered Russian President Vladimir Putin to be personally accountable for Moscow's meddling in the 2016 USA elections. After discussing nuclear proliferation he said he would also bring up election meddling but added, "I don't think we'll have any 'Gee I did it, I did it, you got me.'" He added, "There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think".

On Tuesday, Trump attempted to walk back his comments at the summit by claiming he meant to say he didn't see any reason why it wouldn't, instead of would, be Russian Federation. "But I can have a lot of confidence in the present and the future, because it's getting to be now where we're putting our people in", Trump said.

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Trump's views surrounding election meddling have been repeatedly called into question.

Trump said at the news conference in Helsinki that he gave equal weight to Coats's assertions that Moscow interfered in the election and to Putin's denials.

"The only reason there was a walk-back is that the president was forced by pressure from many of my Republican friends here, from his allies in the media, and his own White House staff", Schumer said on the Senate floor.

"But what I do want to know from Pompeo is whether or not any agreements were reached" between Trump and Putin, he said.

On Tuesday, Trump read from a printed statement, and said he had misspoken in Helsinki.

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