House Speaker corrects Trump, says 'no doubt' Russia meddled in US elections
As lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed concern over President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reaffirmed the intelligence community's finding that Russia meddled in the U.S. election.
"They did interfere in our elections. It's really clear. There should be no doubt about that," Ryan told reporters Tuesday at a weekly press conference.
Asked if Congress would take additional steps to punish Russia, independent of President Trump, Ryan said he would be "more than happy" to consider additional economic sanctions against Russia.
Both Republicans and Democrats slammed President Trump's performance at a press conference in Helsinki, Finland on Monday. In his remarks, the U.S. president appeared to side with Russian President Putin's claims that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump's remarks contradicted the findings of the U.S. intelligence community as well as Senate and House intelligence committee reports. None of the reports indicated Russian efforts altered the outcome of the election.
Ryan said he understood President Trump's attempt to improve relations between the United States and Russia, but insisted Russia was a "menacing government" that is "trying to undermine democracy itself."
On Monday, Speaker Ryan issued a public statement criticizing the president for equating U.S. and Russian behavior.
"There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals," Ryan stated, adding the United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable for interfering in its democratic processes.
Trump attributed the state of poor relations between the two countries to the U.S. "foolishness" saying both countries "made some mistakes."