WASHINGTON (KTVU) - President Trump tried to limit the damage Tuesday by saying he had misspoken, when he made stunning statements in Helsinki seeming to support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and cast doubt on his own U.S. intelligence officials. The comments had drawn sharp criticism from Democrats, Republicans, and even from President Trump's staunch supporters who said he made a mistake.
Calling it a clarification, not a correction, President Trump tried to regain trust among Republicans.
"I realize that there is a need for some clarification. It should have been obvious," said President Trump at a GOP tax meeting.
GOP leaders rebuked his conduct and sent their own warning earlier Tuesday.
"Vladimir Putin does not share our interests. Vladimir Putin does not share our values," said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
"The Russians, uh, need to know that there are a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016, and it better not happen again in 2018," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
President Trump claimed he simply misspoke when he said Monday about Russian meddling "I don't see any reason why it would be Russia."
"The sentence should have been 'I don't see any reason why I wouldn't' or why 'it wouldn't' be Russia," he said in his justification Tuesday.
The President did not address other statements he made Monday casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence probe, such as the comment "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."
Tuesday's Presidential concession also came with a caveat.
"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place, could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there," said President Trump, not elaborating on what other people he might mean.
"In diplomacy, perception is a great deal of the result and I think the broad perception that Russia has come out ahead," said Daniel Sargent, Associate Professor of History at U.C. Berkeley.
Sargent says while the president wants to reset relations with Russia, there are many real rifts including Russia's violation of a cease-fire in Syria. Russia's opposition to NATO expanding its membership, and Russian aggression in Crimea.
President Trump's position on Russia also continues to sow domestic disagreements.
"Open lines of communication is very important for avoiding war. I commend President Trump for taking this meeting," said Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul.
"This is now the new American policy, policy that embraces Putin and all he represents," said Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner.
"I think it's virtually impossible to see Trump leading the United States and Russia towards a more collaborative and cooperative relationship in this present moment, just because of the seriousness and depth of domestic suspicions of Trump, of his motivations," said Sargent.
Democrats are now calling for the President to explain what he discussed with Putin in Helsinki. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also has been called to testify at a congressional hearing next Wednesday.