Emphasizing that he has full faith in and support for US intelligence agencies, and that he accepts the intelligence community's conclusions that Russian meddling took place, the president emphasized that perhaps "other people" were involved, and added that Russia's actions nevertheless had no impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.
"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," Trump said. "Could be other people also. A lot of people out there," he added.
"I realized that there is a need for some clarification," Trump said. "In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why I woudn’t or why it wouldn’t be Russia.’"
During his Monday meeting with Putin, Trump rejected the conclusion of US intelligence agencies about alleged Russian election meddling. During their joint press conference, Trump said that Putin had strongly denied Russian meddling in the US democratic process during their private meeting. The US president also emphatically stated that there had been "zero collusion" between himself and Moscow.
On Tuesday, Trump vowed that his administration would move aggressively to squash any attempt to interfere in the 2018 midterms.
"We are doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018, we have a lot of power," Trump told reporters.
Trump also listed the topics of discussion with Putin in Helsinki, saying they included the situations in North Korea and Syria, Israel's security, Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions, and the need to reduce nuclear weapons proliferation. Trump said he hoped Iran would come to the table with the US on the possibility of making a new nuclear deal at some point in the future.
“Yesterday we made significant progress toward addressing some of the worst conflicts,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “When I met with President Putin for about two and a half hours we talked about numerous things and among those things are the problems that you see in the Middle East where they’re very much involved and we’re very much involved.”
Trump said prior to a meeting with lawmakers at the White House on Tuesday that the summit with Putin in Helsinki the previous day was very strong and dialogue with Russia is highly important.
"Dialogue with Russia in this case because we’ve had such poor relationships for so many years, dialogue is a very important thing and it’s a very good thing," Trump told reporters. "I thought that the meeting that I had with President Putin was really strong."
Donald Trump also underscored that he prefers diplomacy and engagement with Putin rather than hostility and conflict.
Russia has dismissed claims of meddling and collusion with the Trump campaign as "nonsense." During Monday's summit, Putin offered assistance to special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, saying Russia would be willing to help in facilitating the questioning of Russian nationals recently charged with hacking the Democratic Party's servers in 2016.
As far as interference at the state level was concerned, Putin repeated sentiment he had expressed on many previous occasions, telling reporters that "Russia has never interfered and is not going to meddle in US internal affairs, including in the election process."