Trump, Putin start first bilateral meeting in Helsinki
- Author: Julie Sanders Jul 18, 2018,
Jul 18, 2018, 10:11
Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he has "full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies". "I accept our intelligence community's conclucsion that Russia's meddling int eh 2016 election took place".
Trump then added that "it could be other people also, there's a lot of people out there".
John Cornyn, the second-ranked Senate Republican, even excused Trump's remarkable comments in Helsinki: "In the President's mind, I think he's conflating different things - the meddling and the collusion allegations for which there does not appear to be any evidence".
Russia's state-run Channel One said Trump's meetings in Britain and his contentious appearance at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit last week were secondary to Monday's summit, saying: "After all, he was just passing through Brussels and London on the way to Helsinki".
Trump said Tuesday back at the White House that he meant to say that he didn't see any reason why Russian Federation "wouldn't" interfere.
Trump also said "we are doing everything in our power" to prevent election interference in 2018.
After his remarks, the White House released a fact sheet on how the USA is "standing up to Russia's malign activities" - a clear bid to counter the notion that Trump had been soft on Putin.
After their joint news conference in Helsinki, Russian media took some swipes at USA journalists for focusing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that brought Trump to power.
On Tuesday, Trump spoke plainly on the matter and also read from a prepared statement.
When the interviewer, Tucker Carlson, asked him if he viewed Russian Federation as America's biggest adversary, Trump said, "I won't even use the word adversary". Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating any potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.
Democratic California Representative Jimmy Gomez charged: "To side with Putin over United States intelligence is disgusting; to fail to defend the U.S. is on the verge of treason".
"Definitely, Russia should have a strong leader, it is so natural for us", he said.
"The sentence should've been I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russian Federation, sort of a double negative".
Trump's embrace of Putin angered lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The president framed his remarks as a clarification, but Albright said she is still unclear on how he feels about Russian Federation or whether he believes Putin.
McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who called Russia's government "menacing", said their chambers could consider additional sanctions on Russian Federation.
Putin told the media that the two leaders had kept in regular touch over telephone and in meetings in multilateral scenarios and it was time to have an in-depth discussion of bilateral ties and urgent global affairs, reports Xinhua news agency.
"If you are asking to be the chief executive of this state, there is a responsibility of leadership to clearly articulate this nation's national security is at risk and this president did nothing to alleviate that", he said.