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CD8 candidate Stauber responds to Trump's Russia comments

Congressional District 8 Republican candidate Pete Stauber stands at the microphone next to President Donald J. Trump on June 20 in Duluth. Stauber issued a statement in response to Trump's apparent dismissal of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, which he later walked back. file / News Tribune

After President Donald Trump's apparent acceptance of Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of interference in the 2016 presidential election — and subsequent walking back of those statements Tuesday — candidates from both sides of the political aisle issued statements in response, including some in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.

On Tuesday afternoon, DFL candidate Joe Radinovich sent an email asking Republican candidate Pete Stauber to denounce the president's rebuttal of U.S. intelligence findings of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

"Pete Stauber has embraced the president at every turn, and failed to stand up for American democracy. I believe that any candidate who claims to fight for the interests of working people would denounce the President's actions as he degrades our democracy," said Radinovich.

Stauber has praised Trump numerous times in public and was brought on stage and allowed to speak during Trump's rally June 20 at the DECC in Duluth. He issued the following statement Tuesday:

"While no one knows the specific conversations that took place in private, the summit appears to have been a missed opportunity for the U.S. to hold Russia accountable," said Stauber. "Russia is not our ally. We must continue to uphold the integrity of U.S. elections without any interference, and take swift action in response to any attacks on our democracy."

Radinovich's request for Stauber's denouncement comes one day after Trump's Helsinki press conference with Putin. During the press conference, Trump said while he has great confidence in United States intelligence community, he doesn't "see any reason why" Russia would be behind election interference.

The statement drew widespread bipartisan condemnation from politicians. In response to the criticism, the president gave remarks midday Tuesday, stating he had misspoken during the news conference.

"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," Trump said.

Radinovich is running against four other DFL candidates in the Aug. 14 primary: Jason Metsa, Kirsten Kennedy, Michelle Lee and Soren Sorensen.

Stauber is the GOP-endorsed candidate running in Congressional District 8. He faces one challenger heading into the August primary: Harry Welty.

Ray "Skip" Sandman is the Independence Party candidate for the district.

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