PRESIDENT Donald Trump has again contradicted US intelligence agencies, saying that Russia was not still targeting the United States, and accusing his critics of being deranged.

The day after he tried to quiet a political uproar over his failure to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin during their Helsinki summit for Moscow's 2016 election meddling, Mr Trump adopted his usual defiant posture and dismissed assessments of Russia from the intelligence community.

"We're doing very well, probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russia. And there's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia," Mr Trump said before a Cabinet meeting at the White House, adding that Mr Putin "understands it and he's not happy about it."

Asked by reporters whether Russia was still targeting the United States, Mr Trump shook his head and said, "No."

At the start of a Cabinet meeting, a reporter asked, "Is Russia still targeting the U.S., Mr. President?"

"Thank you very much. No," Mr Trump responded, shaking his head.

"No? You don't believe that to be the case?"

"No," Mr Trump repeated.

US intelligence officials have said Russian election interference efforts are continuing and now target the upcoming congressional elections in November.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters at a news briefing hours later that the president's "no" was not in answer to a reporter's question, "Is Russia still targeting the US?" Ms Sanders said Mr Trump meant he did not want to answer questions.

"The president ... was saying 'No' to answering questions," Ms Sanders said. "The president and his administration are working very hard to make sure that Russia is unable to meddle in our elections as they have done in the past."

The self-named 'Trump derangement syndrome'

EARLIER: DONALD Trump fired off a series of wild tweets in a desperate attempt to defend himself from fierce criticism by the media and members of his own party over his behaviour with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

The US President even went so far as to name a syndrome after himself, apparently without realising the obvious irony.

The renowned "stable genius" said people's attacks on him should be named "Trump Derangement Syndrome", since they would clearly rather go to war than see him get on with Mr Putin.

He accused people of simply hating the fact he was on friendly terms with Mr Putin at their summit in Finland on Monday, when he sensationally said he trusted Mr Putin over his own intelligence agencies.

After Mr Trump executed a stunning backflip 24 hours later, claiming he had simply misspoken and said the wrong word, his excuse was mocked as ridiculous.

So the President resorted to his favourite medium - Twitter - posting a barrage of tweets about his excellent results on the economy, job creation and trade deals.

He said "people at the higher ends of intelligence loved" his press conference with Mr Putin.

The problems for Mr Trump began in Finland's capital when he showed deference to a man who has been repeatedly accused of war crimes, corruption and brutality.

Mr Trump told the world Mr Putin had been "strong and powerful in his denials" of Russian interference on the 2016 US elections, and insisted: "All I can do is ask the question."

The President also dramatically failed to hold Russia to account for its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Novichok nerve agent attack in the UK.

His behaviour sparked an uproar, with senior Republicans, members of the intelligence community and even Barack Obama declaring themselves appalled by his performance.

 

The President first responded by slamming the "Fake News Media" and tried to turn the attention back to the economy and the money "he raised" at the NATO meeting, where his attitude to overseas allies was also blasted.

Mr Trump then went into damage control mode and, a full 24 hours after his press conference with Mr Putin, tried to explain away his actions by claiming he had said one word wrong.

"In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't'," he explained.

He said the sentence should have been, "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia," rather than, "I don't see any reason why it would be Russia."

It was a stunning backflip that has only made the public outpouring anger even worse.

But Mr Trump is known for weathering a storm, and even Trump Derangement Syndrome may not be able to bring him down.


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