WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Donald Trump is under fire after the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland on Monday.
- At a news conference after the summit, Trump openly defended Russia over allegations of meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
- Back in the U.S., top officials, the media and even Trump’s allies criticized the U.S. president for “throwing his own country and people under the bus.”
President Trump and President Putin faced the media in a news conference after nearly two hours of one-on-one talks on Monday.
Trump was asked if he believed the U.S. intelligence agencies or the Russian president regarding the meddling allegations in the 2016 election.
“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump answered.
The U.S. president publicly contradicted US intelligence agencies by openly saying that he believed Putin more.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump must realize that “Russia is not our ally”.
In 2016, US intelligence agencies determined that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorized campaign of cyber-attacks and fake news stories planted on social media, BBC wrote.
Trump’s spy chief contradicted his boss’ statement at the Helsinki summit. In a statement, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said that Russia is responsible for “ongoing, pervasive attempts” to undermine US democracy.
Trump also blamed past US administrations for poor relations with Russia rather than considering Russia’s actions as the cause.
To this, Speaker Ryan said: “There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals.”
He also said that there was “no question” Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.
Senator John McCain called the Trump-Putin summit a “disgraceful performance. No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” McCain said in a statement.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump’s actions had “strengthened our adversaries while weakening our defenses and those of our allies”.
Former CIA director John Brennan called the news conference “was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???” he tweeted.
During the news conference, Putin invited US investigators to visit Russia to question the officers.
Putin described the Helsinki summit as “candid and useful” while Trump said there had been “deeply productive dialogue”.
But with no concrete results from the meeting, the two leaders are seeing the just-concluded summit as the first of many meetings to come.