President Trump on Wednesday appeared to suggest Russia is no longer targeting the U.S., even though Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned last week that the country's digital infrastructure was "under attack" and that Russia was the "most aggressive foreign actor, no question."
It was the second consecutive day of conflicting statements from the White House about Russia. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said later Wednesday the threat still exists and that Trump was saying "no" to answering questions from reporters. Trump replied "no" three times immediately after an ABC reporter asked him, twice, "Is Russia still targeting the U.S.?"
Trump continues to face backlash from both Democrats and Republicans for his performance Monday at a summit in Helsinki, Finland, where he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies — which have repeatedly concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
On Tuesday, a day after the summit, Trump acknowledged the intelligence agencies' findings and claimed he misspoke at the summit.
Here is what Trump said at the summit versus the day after:
"I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today."
"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there."
At one point, as Trump said he had "full faith" in U.S. intelligence agencies, the lights went out.
"My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russia. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be."
"The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why I wouldn't, or why it wouldn't be Russia."
That Russia interfered in the election "came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election which, frankly, they should have been able to win."
"I have felt very strongly that while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying, and I've said this many times, I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place."
"There was no collusion. I didn't know [Putin]" during the election, Trump said. "There was nobody to collude with. There was no collusion with the campaign."