WASHINGTON -- President Trump on Tuesdayappearing to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin instead of his own intelligence agencies.
"I will begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies, I always have," Mr. Trump said at the top of a meeting with members of Congress. At a press conference with Putin on Monday, Mr. Trump said "I have confidence in both parties" when asked whether he believes the intelligence community's assessment of Russian meddling or Putin's denial.
But some Republican lawmakers say the damage is already done.
"That's what I wish he would have said initially, and I'm glad he said it now," said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Republicans may have been relieved, but they still have questions about that two hour meeting with Putin.
"What did you talk about? And why didn't you want it to be recorded?" asked Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania.
They worry the damage from the president's foreign trip can't be fully undone.
"Let me just say to our European friends: We value the NATO treaty," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But McConnell and other GOP leaders have been careful to correct the president without criticizing him directly.
"Vladimir Putin does not share our interests," said House Speaker Paul Ryan. "Vladimir Putin does not share our values."
A few Republicans argued the president did nothing wrong in the first place. Sen. Rand Paulsaying the president "did a good thing" by meeting with Putin.
Some Republicans want the secretary of state and maybe even the president's interpreter to testify next week to provide details about the meeting with Putin. Support is growing for a bill giving Congress the power to impose new sanctions on Russia if it interferes in the midterm elections.