'Treasonous': Trump sides with Putin over Federal Bureau of Investigation

The American president said it is a "shame" there is a cloud over his administration, but said he ran a "brilliant campaign and that's why I'm president".

In the interview, Putin also pushed back against suggestions that Russian Federation may have compromising material about Trump, saying "it's clear that we did nothing of that kind of against Mr. Trump".

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

Toomey added, "Putin insists that the Russian government has nothing to do with meddling in our elections".

As criticism mounted, Trump tweeted from Air Force One on his way home from Finland that he had "GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people".

He also said the two countries should be "very careful" on nuclear weapons.

Facing a barrage of questions about the war in Syria and Russia's alleged role in Trump's 2016 election victory, both men broke into brief smiles as the Kremlin chief handed over the souvenir.

The two leaders were seated together in a room adorned by American and Russian flags at the Finnish Presidential Palace, separated by a small table. And, Trump once again seemed to doubt the US intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election.

Abortion-rights activists dressed as heavily pregnant Donald Trumps demonstrated on the streets of Helsinki, just a stone's throw away from where the USA and Russian presidents met. Republican Patriots: "Where are you???" tweeted John Brennan, said former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan. The courageous journalist then asked Mr Putin - who is known for silencing the media and suppressing free speech - if he had any compromising material on Donald Trump.

Russian President Vladimir Putin fended off questions on a string of deaths that are suspected to have been orchestrated by the Kremlin, during an interview on Fox News on Monday. Just as Putin has long seen a sinister hand behind USA state actions, Trump declared of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, "That was a total witch hunt".

The president was also roundly condemned for stating he held "both countries responsible" for the deterioration in US-Russia relations.

Still, Putin said he had indeed wanted Trump to win the election - a revelation that might have made more headlines if not for Trump's performance - but had taken no action to make it happen. As one Russian reporter filmed herself walking down the aisle between the American press corps and the Russians, the only English words audible in her Russian-language broadcast were "fake news". And it came at the end of an extraordinary trip to Europe in which Trump had already berated allies, questioned the value of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and demeaned leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel and Britain's Theresa May.

In Helsinki, however, Trump was determined to accentuate the positive, as was Putin. The White House has struggled for months to dispel suggestions that Trump was unwilling to stand up to Russian Federation.

The entire day surrounding Trump and Putin was tightly choreographed, as high-level presidential summits often are.

[This] marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency.

Mr Putin added that other issues that Russian Federation would like to discuss in the arms control sphere are the United States missile defence plans and the weaponisation of space.

To outrage in Washington, president Donald Trump has lent weight to Russian denials of meddling in United States elections at his inaugural summit with Vladimir Putin, where the pair championed a fresh start in relations between the world's leading nuclear powers.

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

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Republican, was openly critical of the president's assessment of Russia's conduct: "There is no question that Russian Federation interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world".

"I think that's an incredible offer".

  • Julie Sanders