US Senate seeks hearing on Trump’s summit with Putin as US President retracts comments

WASHINGTON, July 18:”US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has sought hearing to know details of President Trump’s one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart as the American leader tried to retract comments on alleged meddling by Moscow in the 2016 presidential elections.

President Trump’s apparent siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a joint press conference, where he discounted the US intelligence community’s findings on Russian interference in the election, has drawn a widespread backlash, including lawmakers from his Republican Party.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday he was requesting a public hearing with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo next week on the Trump administration’s Russia policy.

A report by the online Foreign Policy magazine quoted to congressional aides as confirming that Pompeo will testify before the committee on Wednesday. The Panel had originally asked for hearing following Trump’s meeting with the North Korean President Kim Jong Un, but added Trump’s meeting with Putin after a stormy press conference.

At a press conference on Monday after a summit in Helsinki, President Trump said that he misspoke when he said he didn’t think Russia interfered in elections.
While responding to a question, he had stated He (Putin) just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

However, on Tuesday, reading from a statement, President Trump corrected that sentence , saying: “The sentence should have been, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.”Sort of a double negative. So, you can put that in. And I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.”

The hearing request shows a push back from the Republican Party amid a backlash over his support for the Russian President, including from House Speaker Paul Ryan, who stated that Russia was not US’ ally.

The Senate hearing “could force Pompeo to answer for Trump’s warm overtures to Putin and clarify the administration’s stances on Russia, including potential cooperation on the Syria conflict.” the report added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined the chorus of lawmakers pushing back on Trump’s performance in Helsinki but was careful not to openly criticize the president.”We understand the Russian threat, and I think that is the widespread view here in the United States Senate among members of both parties.    (APP)