"There's never been a President as tough on Russia as I have been," Mr. Trump told reporters. "And I think President Putin knows that better than anybody, especially the media."
On Monday, after Mr. Trump had seemingly sided with the denial of Vladimir Putin at a joint news conference in Finland, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, quickly issued a statement reiterating that the U.S. firmly believes Russia meddled in the 2016 election, noting "their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy."
Mr. Trump then clarified his comments on Tuesday, in a statement read to reporters - but Wednesday's remarks seemed to take him back to square one - where the President argues that the Russians are not coming after the U.S.
The President's answer puts him squarely at odds as well with many in both parties in the Congress, who fully believe that Russia is still actively engaged in efforts to meddle with the 2018 and 2020 elections in the United States.
"OMG. OMG. OMG," wrote Michael Hayden on Twitter, a former Director of the CIA and National Security Agency.
"Mr. President. Walk this back too," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
"Trump lying to the American people," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), "denying Russia is targeting our elections."