Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump met for two hours in a one-on-one, closed door meeting today in Helsinki, Finland (only their interpreters were present), and then spent time at a working lunch.
Following that, the two leaders held a press conference in which President Trump said he believed what he had been told by Putin, that Russia was not involved in the 2016 presidential election in any way.
Trump, standing next to Putin in Helsinki, refused to say he believed U.S. intelligence assessments about Russian election interference. Trump appeared to take Putin’s claim that Russia was innocent at face value.
“I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said, although he added that he has confidence in both parties — Putin and U.S. intelligence.
Trump’s comments, as well what many deemed to be an overall timid performance next to the Russian strongman, stunned former U.S. officials, analysts and others. Some said they could not recall similar behavior by an American head of state.
The news exploded across Twitter this afternoon, with calls for the president’s aides to resign being some of the mildest reaction. Here’s what we’re seeing this afternoon:
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It 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???
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
As I said today and many times before, “I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.” However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along! #HELSINKI2018
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018
Sen. Chuck Schumer on Trump's press conference with Putin: President Trump "took the word of the KGB over the men and women of the CIA. … The President put what's best for him over what's best for the security and well-being of the United States." https://t.co/0DNxwxZL8D pic.twitter.com/uhHVoxNhxW
— CNN (@CNN) July 16, 2018
I don’t care what the mainstream media says, I thought @realDonaldTrump was great today!
— Harlan Z. Hill (@Harlan) July 16, 2018
During a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump says he isn't convinced Russia meddled in the 2016 election, despite every major U.S. intelligence agency’s findings to the contrary. pic.twitter.com/jNdYSgl1qi
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) July 16, 2018
— Katrina Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) July 16, 2018
The silence of Republicans in congress after their president basically sold the United States out makes me think Putin has a tape of all of them peeing.
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) July 16, 2018
— SAM6 (@travelong6) July 16, 2018
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 16, 2018
Pres. Trump on Russia meddling into U.S. election: "Pres. Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today, and what he did is an incredible offer—he offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators." https://t.co/HERDboeaJt pic.twitter.com/QE12aUIJ6Y
— ABC News (@ABC) July 16, 2018
This is the United States president just 3 days after we indicted 12 more Russians for attacking America. Not a peep about that or the election hack. Just more ass-kissing. I’d say “unbelievable” but it’s actually quite expected. #impeach #Trump #traitor @POTUS #Helsinki https://t.co/C6GoZq74iP
— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) July 16, 2018
United States and Russia#TreasonSummit
What are you going to do about it, eh House Speaker Paul Ryan?
— BeSeriousUSA (@BeSeriousUSA) July 16, 2018
— B. Janine Morison (@bjaninemorison) July 16, 2018
Sign up for the Morning Scoop
Immigration Officials Are Denying Green Cards and Visas Whenever They Want
An almost undetectable policy change has made drastic differences.
Analysis: Trump Administration Still Wants to Separate Immigrant Families
The Flores settlement is in the spotlight as children remain apart from their parents.
Toyota Recalls Over One Million or More Hybrids Due to Fire Risk
Toyota is under pressure after over a million vehicles were recalled.