Trump says he has confidence in US agencies on Russia, misspoke in Helsinki

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, grappling with a torrent of criticism over his performance at a Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Tuesday he misspoke at their joint news conference and meant to say he saw no reason why it was not Russia that interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

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Trump told reporters at the White House that he had full faith and support for U.S. intelligence agencies and accepted their conclusion that Russia meddled in the election.

"The full faith and support for America's intelligence agencies - I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies," Trump said in remarks preceding a meeting with House of Representatives Republicans about possible future tax cuts.

He said Russian actions had no impact on the outcome of the vote and the administration would work aggressively to protect the November 2018 congressional elections.

Standing alongside Putin at the news conference in Helsinki on Monday, Trump was asked if he believed U.S. intelligence agencies' conclusions that Russia interfered in the election in an effort to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump said he was not convinced it was Moscow.

"I don't see any reason why it would be," Trump said. "President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today." (Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Writing by David Alexander; editing by Grant McCool)