Sen. Ben Sasse: Trump should declare Russian Federation an 'enemy of America'

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U.S. President Donald Trump has backtracked on comments in which he said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin's pledge that Russia didn't meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

On Monday, Trump stood beside Russian President Vladimir Putin and challenged American intelligence agencies' findings that Moscow had interfered in the 2016 USA elections.

As Trump was declaring his "full faith and support" for United States intelligence agencies, the lights in the Cabinet Room went dark.

But Trump gave the go-ahead to announce the charges against the 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic Party.

The Texas Republican said having a clear strategy is necessary going into a meeting with other heads of state, just a day after Trump had a one-on-one summit with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin.

He had not condemned Russia's interference on Monday, instead saying: "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".

Trump said the summit with Putin still "was our most successful visit" on his European trip. "I always have", Trump said, re-writing history.

There is also silence from two other Minnesota Republican members of Congress, Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis, both strong Trump supporters.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said there was no doubt Russian Federation had meddled in USA elections and that Mr Putin "does not share our values".

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"Given the unfriendliness of the press toward the president, why should we focus on a press conference?"

"There are a number of things that were said that I think really make us wonder what [Trump's] role is with the Russians and frankly what the Russians expect out of him", Albright said.

In the Senate, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top officials to appear before Congress and tell exactly what happened during Trump's two-hour private session with Putin.

Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen offered a scathing assessment on Twitter, writing: "President Trump's performance in Helsinki was embarrassing".

That assertion is not supported by known intelligence. He was asked whether he holds Russian Federation accountable for "anything in particular", Trump responded, "I hold both countries responsible".

After resounding bipartisan backlash - including stern consternation from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump ally Sen.

"Those who opposed the meeting will try to devalue the agreements made", said Vladimir Olenchenko, of Russia's Institute of Global Economics and International Relations.

Mr Trump said: "I realise there's a need for some clarification", adding that what he meant "should have been obvious - I thought it would be obvious but would like to clarify in case it wasn't".

Speaking to reporters from the White House, Trump said he was surprised at the reaction he received over his public remarks with Putin on Monday. In practice, the overwhelming majority of Democrats and close to 20 Republican senators would have to vote to convict President Trump, an equation that will barely change after the midterms because Republicans are expected to retain their majority in the upper chamber.