The Story Behind TIME's Trump and Putin 'Summit Crisis' Cover

Alexei Nikolsky TASS via Getty Images First Lady Melania Trump US President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin

On Tuesday, Trump appeared to go a step further in his reversal, telling CBS News he held Putin personally responsible for interfering in US elections.

Trump said he had personally warned Putin against election meddling during his meeting with the Russian president. "So, certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes", Trump said.

In Moscow, Putin said "powerful" U.S. forces were trying to sabotage what the summit had achieved, but said the two leaders had begun to improve U.S. -Russia ties anyway. "Is he open to having USA officials questioned by Russian Federation?" asked the New York Times White House reporter Maggie Haberman asked.

Trump also accused past American leaders, rather than Russia's destabilizing actions in the us and around the world, for the souring of relations between two countries.

Russian politicians are rallying behind Mr Putin and shrugging off Mr Trump's wildly contradictory accounts of what he said to Mr Putin at Monday's summit.

Just hours before the CBS interview was broadcast, the White House was forced to clarify another statement Trump gave at a Cabinet meeting earlier on Wednesday. He has "full faith" in USA intelligence agencies, he went on to say, and that he accepted their findings that Russian Federation had meddled in the elections. His response followed words of alarm last week from National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, who said warning lights about overall cyberthreats to the USA were "blinking red" - much as "blinking red" signals before the 9/11 terror attacks.

Sanders also suggested the White House was considering allowing the Russian government to interrogate former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

Trump says 'I accept' US intelligence agencies conclusions on Russian meddling
After his walkback, Trump said his administration would "move aggressively" to repel efforts to interfere in American elections. But, as he has done before, Trump added: "Could be other people also; there's a lot of people out there".

She said the threat to the United States electoral system "still exists, which is why we are taking steps to prevent it".

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign has increasingly put pressure on the White House.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to insist that the summit had been a success, citing the "many positive things" he expects to come from the meeting.

The muddied waters have deepened critics' concerns that Trump is not taking threats to the US electoral system seriously enough. "He views this problem entirely through a political lens, these people say, unable or unwilling to differentiate between the question of whether his campaign colluded with Russia-which he denies-and the question of whether Russian Federation attempted to influence the election". Susan Collins of ME said of Trump's one-word response. But in the Trump administration, Coats could be walking into a minefield, given the president's track record of firing officials who don't toe his line.

"I'm interpreting what the president said, I'm not reversing it", Sanders said. -Russian relations, a USA judge on Wednesday ordered Maria Butina, an accused Russian agent, jailed until her trial after American prosecutors argued she has ties to Russian intelligence and could flee the United States.

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Brennan, who served as Central Intelligence Agency director from 2013 to 2017, issued a scathing tweet after Trump's Helsinki summit. Lindsey Graham pointed to "a big discrepancy" between what they believed Trump said Wednesday and Coats' warning.

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