TRANSCRIPT: Trump backtracks on Russia comments


President Donald Trump, facing an onslaught of bipartisan fury over his glowing remarks about Vladimir Putin, said more than 24 hours afterward that he had misspoken during his news conference with the autocratic Russian leader.

Here are Trump’s full remarks, in which he said “there is some need for clarification” about his comments on Russian interference in the 2016 election, as released by the White House:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Yesterday, I returned from a trip from Europe where I met with leaders from across the region to seek a more peaceful future for the United States. We’re working very hard with our allies, and all over the world we’re working. We’re going to have peace. That’s what we want; that’s what we’re going to have. I say peace through strength.
I have helped the NATO Alliance greatly by increasing defense contributions from our NATO Allies by over $44 billion. And Secretary Stoltenberg was fantastic. As you know, he reported that they’ve never had an increase like this in their history, and NATO was actually going down as opposed to going up. And I increased it by my meeting last year — $44 billion. And this year will be over — it will be hundreds of billions of dollars over the coming years.
And I think there’s great unity with NATO. There’s a lot of very positive things happening. There’s a great spirit that we didn’t have before, and there’s a lot of money that they’re putting up. They weren’t paying their bills on time, and now they’re doing that. And I want to just say thank you very much to Secretary Stoltenberg. He really has been terrific. So we had a tremendous success.