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Trump Putin: US president defends meeting and press conference

July 18, 2018 4:19 pm

US President Donald Trump has lashed out at “haters” who condemned his meeting with Russia’s president.

On Twitter, Mr Trump said his critics were suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome”.

The broadside came a day after he said he misspoke during Monday’s Helsinki summit when he appeared to side with Vladimir Putin over claims of Kremlin meddling in US elections.

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Despite the controversy, Republican voters seem to be sticking by Mr Trump.

Responding on Twitter on Wednesday morning, the Republican president said his critics would “rather go to war” and “wanted to see a boxing match” between him and Mr Putin.

During a cabinet meeting later in the day, a journalist asked Mr Trump if Russia was still targeting the US. He answered: “Thank you very much, no.”

The remark generated headlines in US media, because such an assessment would contradict the views of US intelligence chief Dan Coats, who said on Monday that Russia was involved in “ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy”.

But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said later on Wednesday that Mr Trump was responding “no” to further questions from reporters.

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