Trump tries to clarify stand on Russian meddling in United States election

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is accompanying president Donald Trump on a tour of AsiaMore

He spoke at a news conference in the Vietnamese capital, clarifying remarks he made the day before in which he suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin was being honest in his denials that Moscow meddled in the election. "As now led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies".

Trump's remarks drew criticism back home for choosing Putin's side over the USA intelligence agencies, as they have long claimed Russian Federation meddled in US presidential election in 2016.

A special counsel's examination of potential collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign aides so far has led to indictments against Trump's former campaign chairman and another top aide for crimes unrelated to the campaign, and a guilty plea from a Trump foreign policy adviser for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Trump's comment came shortly before he took off for the Philippines, the final stop of his five-country maiden trip to Asia.

After talking with Quang, Trump wrapped up his first visit to Vietnam and left for Manila to attend the 31st ASEAN summit. Trump has previously praised Duterte's handling of his nation's drug problems.

The president caused a backlash in Washington earlier in the weekend when he suggested to reporters that he believed Mr. Putin's denials more than the conclusions of USA intelligence officials that Russian Federation did in fact intervene in the election via hacked emails and fake news postings on social media. But the issue wasn't settled. The president has vehemently denied all claims of involvement. Trump danced around questions about whether he believed Putin but stressed Putin's denials. He also accused Democrats of using the issue to try to sabotage relations between the two countries, putting lives at risk.

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At a joint press conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang here on Sunday, Trump tried to distance himself from his previous remarks by saying that he believed his intelligence agencies.

Trump also lashed out Saturday at the former heads of the nation's intelligence agencies, claiming there were plenty of reasons to be suspicious of their findings. "They're political hacks", Trump said.

"People don't realize that Russian Federation has been very, very heavily sanctioned", Trump said.

Trump's Saturday comments sparked criticism from lawmakers with ties to the intelligence community. Sen.

"I think he's giving Putin a pass and I think it demonstrates to Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and play upon his securities", Brennan said.

Mr. Trump, however, insisted during his news conference on Sunday that his remarks were clear.



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