Emanuel: Take away Trump's security clearance after summit with Putin

Then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak addresses reporters at the Sama Sama Hotel near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang

Then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak addresses reporters at the Sama Sama Hotel near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang

President Donald Trump tried to walk back his jarring performance with Russian President Vladimir Putin today, as top US lawmakers called for a hearing to sort out what exactly happened when the two leaders met in Helsinki on Monday.

In his attempt to walk back his Helsinki remarks, Trump said he accepts the consensus of American intelligence agencies that Russian Federation interfered in the election.

Trump said he accepted the intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation had meddled in the election, and offered a rambling explanation of his assertion that he could not see "any reason" why Russian Federation would interfere.

The president, in Helsinki, also criticised the FBI, Democrats, Hillary Clinton and the special counsel's investigation of Russia's election activities and possible Trump campaign complicity - all as an occasionally smiling Putin stood beside him in the Finland presidential palace.

Calling NATO the most significant military alliance in history, McConnell said Russia was not "our friend", adding, "I think the Russians need to know that there are a lot of us that fully understand what happened in 2016, and that it really better not happen again".

The president also said Monday that Putin's denials of interference were "extremely strong and powerful". "The president's statements today in Helsinki demonstrate his continued refusal to accept the unanimous conclusions of US intelligence leaders and the bipartisan findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee", Collins said in a statement.

Trump's meeting with Putin in Helsinki was his first time sharing the global stage with a man he has described as an important US competitor - but whom he has also praised a strong, effective leader.

"Trump essentially disowned the results of his own intelligence services and believed Vladimir Putin", said William Pomeranz, the deputy director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center. "I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies", Trump said, in a prepared statement.

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When questioned about Russia specifically, a majority of registered voters (55 percent) said they disapproved of Trump's handling of Russian relations, while only 37 percent approved of the same. "I think he may in fact get his wish and go down in history as the least democratic president we've had".

Trump, in opening remarks, said that U.S. -Russia relations had been at their lowest point until the two sat down face-to-face in a highly-anticipated summit.

Mr. Trump said he misspoke at a joint press conference Monday with Mr. Putin when he said he "didn't know why it would be" Russian Federation that hacked the election.

Now, his aides are wondering how he'll respond to anger from even his staunchest supporters after he sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump had hoped the indictment would strengthen his hand during the summit, according to the White House sources.

"Thanks to many years of USA foolishness and stupidity": Vladimir Putin seized Crimea, sponsored a proxy war in Ukraine, murdered Russian journalists, poisoned former Russian intelligence agents in the United Kingdom, gutted his country's fledgling democratic institutions, and propped up a Syrian leader who used chemical weapons repeatedly on his own people-all because of us. The sentence should have been, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russian Federation.

The admission came in the White House Cabinet Room, where Trump was sitting with lawmakers for an otherwise unrelated meeting.

In Helsinki, Putin said he had indeed wanted Trump to win the election - a revelation that might have made more headlines if not for Trump's performance - but had taken no action to make it happen.

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