Trump declines to back USA intelligence on Russian meddling

Larry Hoffman
July 18, 2018

After President Donald Trump's stunning news conference Monday next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, members of Congress - including some within his own party - were quick to rebuke Trump's performance on the world stage and Trump's refusal to call Putin out for interfering in the U.S. election.

Corker says there's no doubt Russian Federation interfered in the election, adding that he was disappointed and saddened that Trump equated the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation interfered and Putin's denial.

Referring to the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers announced Friday, Putin said the special counsel should send Russia a request for criminal extradition and that the Russian government would "analyze it properly" and "send a formal response" back to the US.

Minutes earlier, on the same platform, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered a reason, even while denying Moscow ever meddled: He wanted Trump to win. "I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russian Federation". "I don't even remember their last names", he said, denying that Russian Federation spied on them.

Trump's approach to Putin is testing support even among some Republicans, with several speaking out to remind the president that Russian Federation is a long-time U.S. adversary.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a statement calling Trump's comment that both countries are responsible for the state of US-Russia relations "bizarre and flat-out wrong". He said the joint press conference in Helsinki was an impeachable offense.

For the president, it's likely to add another to his list of grievances about a network he has denounced as "fake news". Our Intelligence Community has proven Russian Federation attempted to interfere with our elections.

But Cooper was not the only one who just couldn't believe his eyes.

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Making note of some of the political reaction to the news conference, Fox news anchor Bret Baier said Trump probably caused himself a lot of problems with his answers. McCain called the press conference "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory". The president had a similar encounter with Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany, last summer on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting, and he raised this issue again when they met at the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, in the fall.

Graham quipped that Trump ought to check a soccer ball Putin gave to Trump for listening devices, "and never allow it in the White House". And he appeared to lean toward Putin on the matter, saying: "I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today".

Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of "high crimes & misdemeanors".

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.

Senator Bob Casey released a statement on President Donald Trump's press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The United States must be focused on holding Russian Federation accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy".

Trump began the day by firing a Twitter broadside at his domestic opponents, blaming the diplomatic chill on the election investigation. Brennan says, "It was nothing short of treasonous".

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