US President Donald Trump read from a script during the bizarre press conference in which he claimed to have accidentally said Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning (Australian time), Mr Trump was seen reading from a series of printed pages to emphasise that he does in fact accept the US intelligence committee’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the vote.
The multiple pages included a misspelt handwritten note scrawled in black marker saying, “THERE WAS NO COLUSION [sic].”
A close up of the President’s note quickly circulated on social media.
The President wrote in sharpie “THERE WAS NO COLUSION” during a meeting with congressional members. pic.twitter.com/dYk88Ot9h8
— Tom Brenner (@tom__brenner) July 17, 2018
It also appeared Mr Trump had crossed out a specific line on his prepared remarks.
CNBC reporter Christina Wilkie tweeted: “The only line Trump crossed out of his talking points appears to say, ‘Anyone involved in that meddling to justice.'”
Instead during the press conference Mr Trump read from the written statement: “I’ve said this many times … I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.”
“Could be other people also. There’s a lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all, and people have seen that, and they’ve seen it strongly.”
Earlier Mr Trump was scolded by both Democratic and Republican politicians for apparently siding with Mr Putin against American intelligence agencies.
High-ranking Republican politicians branded Mr Trump’s comments a “disgrace” and “shameful”, while a former CIA director called them “treasonous”.
Mr Trump made a stunning reversal on in a bid to counter the mounting criticism.
“In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’,” he said.
“The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative,” Mr Trump explained, saying he had reviewed a transcript and video of his Helsinki remarks.
It’s not the first time the President’s talking points have been exposed.
In February this year, Mr Trump’s list of ways to sound compassionate during his meeting with Florida school shooting survivors circulated online, with one reading “I hear you”.
A photograph of Mr Trump’s note card showed five points and questions he wished to discuss with the survivors, including “what would you most want me to know about experience?” and “what can we do to help you feel safe?”.