Standing next to Russia's Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump openly questioned his own intelligence agencies' conclusions that Moscow was to blame for meddling in the 2016 USA election to Trump's benefit and seemed to accept Putin's insistence that Russia's hands were clean. "When given the chance to denounce Russia's interference in our elections, Trump instead parroted Russian propaganda, pivoting to the "missing" server conspiracy theory that his own US attorney explicitly debunked in court".
"They are feeding millions of their people stories", he said.
In his first comments about the summit, Putin insisted that Russian Federation remains "open to contacts with the U.S".
Trump, who touched off a major political controversy with his embrace of Putin in Helsinki, Finland, accused the news media - which he again dubbed the "enemy of the people" - of distorting the summit and pining for a confrontation between the U.S. and Russian Federation.
It followed meetings with fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders and a trip to the United Kingdom, which saw Mr Trump take a far harder line in public with longstanding allies than subsequently with Mr Putin.
In tweets Monday, Trump continued to undermine the investigation and blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for failing to stop Russia's efforts to sway the 2016 election in Trump's favor.
He added in a tweet on Wednesday that the true enemy of the people is the "Fake News Media". They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I'll probably have a good relationship with Putin.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll this week found that despite a firestorm of media criticism, Mr Trump's Finland summit had no real impact on his overall approval ratings.
Trump, who has struggled to quiet a political uproar over his failure at Monday's summit in Helsinki to confront Putin over Russia's meddling in the 2016 US election, renewed his fierce criticism of one of his favorite targets, the news media.
It came as United States intelligence chief Dan Coats said Russian Federation was involved in "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".
Despite his attempt at damage control over the reaction in Washington, Mr Trump has continued to insist that his meeting with Mr Putin was something to be proud of and has now said that he is anticipating another summit. Now, he said, both U.S.jobs and European and Middle Eastern security hang in the balance as Trump's US opponents try to block the path to improving relations between Moscow and Washington.
The meeting comes as questions swirl about whether Trump will sharply and publicly rebuke his Russian counterpart for the election meddling that prompted a special counsel probe that Trump has repeatedly labeled a "witch hunt". Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., posted on Twitter.
But Texas Republican John Cornyn said the Senate should focus on "additional sanctions instead of just some messaging exercise". Trump laid out a list of topics for discussion that notably did not include Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
According to a transcript posted by the White House, he said: "My people came to me. they said they think it's Russian Federation".
"We have not been getting along well for the last number of years", Trump said as he and Putin sat down at the Presidential Palace in Finlands capital.
"The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.' Sort of a double negative", said Trump to White House reporters.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump said he had reviewed the transcript and realised he needed to clarify.
On Syria, a possible deal could see Moscow helping mediate the withdrawal of Iranian forces and their Hezbollah proxies from the areas alongside Syria's border with Israel - a diplomatic coup that would reflect Russia's carefully cultivated ties with both Israel and Iran.
Trump said he ran a clean campaign and beat Hillary Clinton soundly in 2016.
Addressing reporters before the one-on-one meeting, Putin struck a casual pose during Trump's remarks, slouching in his chair with his legs wide and eyes low.