Trump: Putin sincere over election meddling denials

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Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his counterpart in the US to find time for a formal meeting to talk through a crisis in relations between the two nations and called for a US investigation into Russian election meddling "nonsense". Despite the snub, Putin said he has a "good rapport" with Trump.

"He seems very susceptible to rolling out the red carpet and honor guards and all the trappings and pomp and circumstance that come with the office, and I think that appeals to him, and I think it plays to his insecurities", Clapper said.

He added: 'I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it'.

In his earlier remarks to reporters, Trump also referred to Brennan and Clapper as "political hacks".

Those comments drew sharp criticism in Washington, where Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the president understands the truth about Russian interference, and is simply choosing to accept Putin's denials "over the solid evidence of our own intelligence agencies".

Trump's trip was meant to be centered on trade and North Korea, and today, he will talk with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a bloody drug war that has featured extrajudicial killings.

He called the accusation an 'artificial barrier' put up by Democrats - once again casting doubt on the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russia tried to interfere in the election to help Mr Trump beat his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton.

"I don't know why the ambiguity about this", Brennan said.

'So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey.

Appearing later on CNN, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came to Trump's defense, brushing aside the comments of Brennan and Clapper. Russia responded with US diplomatic expulsions and the sides have since struggled to make progress on most issues. "President Trump is not getting played by anybody".

Manafort was indicted last week on charges that included money laundering, tax evasion and failing to register with the U.S. government as a foreign agent.

He is said to be building a obstruction-of-justice case against Trump and he decision to fire Comey in May.

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