White House issues talking points to curtail damage from Russia summit

Surrogates, Congress get Trump marching orders

By JIM ACOSTA AND SOPHIE TATUM, CNN
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin, right, Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House sent talking points to Republican surrogates and members of Congress on Monday as aides dealt with the fallout of the summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a GOP source.

Included in the talking points were the lines: "For over a year and half, the President has repeatedly said he believes the intelligence agencies when they said Russia interfered in American elections," and "President Trump isn't going to let an excessive focus on the past get in the way of building a brighter future between the world's two largest nuclear powers."

Other talking points note the importance of keeping a dialogue between the two nations.

"Even at the height of the Cold War, dialogue between the US and Russia was maintained," one point stated.

"President Trump approaches talks with Russia grounded in realism, but our desire for friendship, cooperation, and peace remain," read another.

After his summit with Putin, Trump told reporters at a joint news conference that the Russian leader was "extremely strong" in his denial of election interference.

"I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," Trump said.

The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in the last US presidential election. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating any potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion.

Putin stated his public denial on Monday, but he also admitted for the first time that he did want Trump to win the election.

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