Trump defends Putin summit and criticises 'haters who wanted to see a boxing match'

He today claimed "there's been no President ever as tough as I have been on Russia"

Trump defends Putin summit and criticises 'haters who wanted to see a boxing match'

Picture by: Pool/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

Donald Trump has continued to defend his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming no American president has been as "tough" on Russia as he has.

The US President has faced accusations, including from within his own Republican party, of not holding President Putin to account at their summit in Helsinki earlier this week.

Yesterday, the US President moved to clarify remarks made after the summit, suggesting he misspoke in one key sentence when addressing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He added that he accepted the US "intelligence community's conclusion that Russian meddling in the 2016 election took place" - having previously said Putin offered an "extremely strong and powerful" denial.

Today, meanwhile, Trump continued to defend the summit.

In a series of tweets this morning, he wrote: "So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki. Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting.

"We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!"

Speaking ahead of a cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump said his meeting with Putin - along with trips to the UK and a NATO summit in Brussels - were significant.

He said: "We've made incredible progress towards achieving greater peace, security and prosperity for America, for our allies, and in fact for the entire world.

"The meetings with NATO, the United Kingdom and Russia were a tremendous success."

He also claimed that "there's been no President ever as tough as I have been on Russia".

During the brief remarks, a reporter also asked President Trump whether Russia was still targeting the US.

He said "thank you very much, no" - but it was unclear whether he was directly answering the question.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders indicated that the US President was not answering the reporter's question, and was instead saying 'no' to any further questions.

US intelligence chief Dan Coates earlier this week accused Russia of "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".