During a cabinet meeting later in the day, a journalist asked Mr Trump if Russian Federation was still targeting the US. "And there's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia", Trump told reporters before a cabinet meeting at the White House. After all, former President Obama gave Putin a stern warning in 2016 to no apparent effect.
Sanders denied that that was what the White House was doing.
Yeah and I've said that before, Jeff.
But Mrs Sanders rejected that interpretation later in a news briefing, telling reporters the White House was taking action to prevent any future meddling.
"In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word "would" instead of "wouldn't", Trump said, speaking at the White House ahead of a meeting with Republican lawmakers.
The White House remained non-committal on the Russian proposal to allow investigators from both countries to question suspects under a 1999 treaty, which has the media and at least one former USA official up in arms.
Donald Trump has claimed Russian hackers are no longer meddling in U.S. affairs despite intelligence sources suggesting otherwise.
As his rare retraction - Trump is not known to own up mistakes - became the new narrative, the president added a new wrinkle in an unscripted interaction with reporters.
The Hermitage Capital CEO Bill Browder said he hasn't heard from anyone in the Trump administration and called the idea of handing over senior USA officials to the Russians "just beyond belief".
The president's words follow a string of seemingly contradictory statements regarding Russian Federation - specifically whether or not Moscow meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The White House later denied that Trump said Russian Federation was no longer targeting the United States, saying his answer "no" was about taking further questions not about potential interference in USA elections. "So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes", Trump said in an interview to CBS News.
Democrats say the woman who translated for President Trump - and the notes she took during the meeting - could provide critical information about what transpired. He just said it's not Russian Federation. "They would rather go to war than see this", he said. "The reason I address these specific issues is because of Russia's involvement in our elections in the past".
Members of Congress and other people who know about things are calling this out as insane. He just said it's not Russian Federation.
Amid recitations of his exhausted mantra - "no collusion" - Trump called former CIA Director John Brennan "a total lowlife" and said former US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has "gone haywire" because they have been calling attention to Russia's attack on American democracy.