U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that it is "true" Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, and stressed he would hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for interference.
In an interview on CBS News, Trump said he has stated "numerous times before" that he agrees Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
Asked if he would hold Putin personally responsible for the meddling, Trump replied, "Well, I would, because he's in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country. So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes."
The president's comments came after his press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, in which Trump appeared to say he had no reason to believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Trump’s comments at his press conference with Putin were widely criticized by members of both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was especially critical, labeling Trump’s press conference with Putin as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,” McCain said in a statement.
Lawmakers and U.S. allies have said Trump's performance during his press conference with Putin undercut U.S. officials and provided a propaganda victory for the Russian leader.
On Tuesday, Trump sought to walk back the remarks from the press conference, stressing, “I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place.”