Trump faces blistering criticism at home over 'shameful' Putin summit

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 17, 2018

But in advance of the talks, Trump listed a series of topics that did not include Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Democratic members of Congress said Trump should cancel the summit, while several Republicans said he should at least take a harder line with the Russian leader.

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele turned up the Tom Clancy spook-talk, tweeting that President Trump looked like an "asset" standing next to his "handler" during the conference.

'I'd like to say I'm shocked but this is the world in which we live now'.

Earlier on Monday, Putin's spokesman said he hoped the summit with Trump was a "baby step" toward fixing exceptionally bad US-Russian relations.

The conversation - which Wallace said was contentious at times - was Putin's first interview with US media since June 2017.

It was a remarkable break with U.S. intelligence officials and the Justice Department.

Before the summit even began, Trump blamed his own country for the deterioration in relations. He then praised the Russian president for offering to cooperate with the investigation.

Senators Jeff Flake, and to a lesser extent, Lindsey Graham, have been among a small group of Republicans in Congress who have occasionally criticized perceived lapses in judgment by Trump since his inauguration previous year. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted that it was a 'bad day for the United States'.

However, Crowley said the Democrats will have trouble convincing the American public of just how damaging the press conference was, because "neither party and very few people in Washington have any credibility" on foreign policy. Trump, now pinned to the facts about Russian Federation (not about Americans involved), was asked to explain his position on that indictment and whether he believes the information from his intelligence agencies (or the House Intelligence Community, for that matter) or Putin's denial.

"I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression", Flake tweeted.

Mr Trump said last week that he planned to again raise the meddling issue with Mr Putin, but questions have been swirling about whether Mr Trump will sharply and publicly rebuke his Russian counterpart for the interference that prompted a special investigation probe that Mr Trump has repeatedly labelled a "witch hunt".

'The president must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally, ' Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement.

"There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russian Federation, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals", Ryan said in a statement.

Much of the Republican rebuke came from lawmakers who have been willing to openly criticize the president, a group that remains a minority in the GOP.

The Helsinki meeting comes less than a week after the Justice Department announced the indictments of 12 Russian military intelligence officials for allegedly engaging in a "sustained effort" to hack Democrats' emails and computer networks during the 2016 election campaign.

"For the president of the United States to side with President Putin against American law enforcement, American defense officials, and American intelligence agencies is thoughtless, dangerous, and weak", Schumer said.

Graham then suggested that Trump have a commemorative World Cup soccer ball - a gift from Putin - checked for "listening devices".

Instead, he directed his ire at Democrats and US officials, calling special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian Federation a 'disaster'.

The statement from Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, did not directly reference Trump's comments at a news conference alongside Putin in Helsinki.

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