'Donald Trump now says he holds the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, personally responsible for his country’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, further walking back a statement on Monday that drew bipartisan rebukes.
In an interview set to be broadcast Wednesday evening, the US president told Jeff Glor of CBS News that he holds Putin responsible “because he’s in charge of the country, just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country”.
Asked if he agreed with US intelligence assessments that Russia meddled in the election in 2016, Trump replied: “Yeah, and I’ve said that before, Jeff. I have said that numerous times before, and I would say that is true, yeah.”
Asked what he had said to Putin during a one-on-one meeting the two had in Helsinki on Monday, Trump replied: “Very strong on the fact that we can’t have meddling, we can’t have any of that.”
But Trump stopped short of saying that if the intelligence services were correct in their assessment, then Putin must be lying.
“I don’t want to get into whether or not he’s lying. I can only say I do have confidence in our intelligence agencies as currently constituted. I think Dan Coats is excellent ... we have excellent people. So when they tell me something it means a lot.”'
Read more: Trump blames Putin personally for election meddling in latest reversal
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