News & Politics

CNN's Jake Tapper Tears Apart Trump's 'Attempted Cleanup' of His Putin Summit Debacle

The president tried to walk back his support for the Russian authoritarian — but he did so half-heartedly.

Photo Credit: CNN

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump attempted to dampen the blowback he received for his subservient press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin by supposedly clarifying his remarks casting doubt on the intelligence community's finding that Moscow directed efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

But, as CNN's Jake Tapper explained, Trump even undermined this apparent backtracking with his own ad-libbing.

Trump's reversal rested on his claim at the press conference referring to the culprit of election interference being Russia: "I don't see any reason why it would be." In front of reporters Tuesday, Trump read a statement saying he really meant to say, "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be."

Tapper noted that this explanation doesn't fit the facts.

"Even in the president's assertion, note: The president made an aside, not in his prepared remarks, that completely undermined the assertion he was making," Tapper said. "The assertion was that he accepts that it was Russia. But then he noted that it could have been other people too, completely contradicting the intelligence community."

He continued: "The problems of his comments far exceed 'would vs. wouldn't.' In his comments yesterday, he repeated — twice — that Putin was 'powerful' in his denial of election interference. Not to mention the rest of what the president said: his mention of the DNC server, which is a favorite subject of those who don't believe that Russian military intelligence officials of the GRU hacked the DNC server."

Aside from Trump's obviously contradictory remarks, though, Tapper noted that inside sources reveal Trump's true feelings.

"White House sources tell me that what the president said in Helsinki — his skepticism of the intelligence community's assertions about the Russian cyber attacks, an affinity for Putin, a desire to side with the Russian president on this and other issues — that's what the president says privately!" Tapper said. "In other words, what we heard in Helsinki — that's what President Trump believes."

Watch the clip below:

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.