President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin opened their long-awaited summit Monday with a wink and slouch, respectively, then talked one on one behind closed doors for two-plus hours before the American leader declared their meeting was off to a "very, very good start for everybody".
Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says Trump missed an opportunity to publicly condemn Russia's interference in USA elections.
On Tuesday, Trump sought to walk back his widely-criticized comments, saying he agreed with the us intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation interfered in the election.
Minutes earlier, on the same platform, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered a reason, even while denying Moscow ever meddled: He wanted Trump to win.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement, specifically regarding President Trump's statement that he holds "both countries responsible" for the deteriorated relationship between the United States and Russian Federation.
"The sentence should have been 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia, '" Trump said while reading from a prepared statement at the White House.
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Senior Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, by contrast, said he had "positive impressions" from the Trump-Putin meetup in Helsinki, RIA-Novosti reported.
He concluded by suggesting that the Russians must have "damaging information" about Trump that they're holding over his head and using to influence US policy. He told reporters that one big question "hangs" over the Trump presidency: "What could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russian Federation over those of the United States?"
The "Russian meddling" saga inevitably stole the limelight at the summit and the two leaders discussed it in private as well as during their joint press conference.
He added: "With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. He places his trust in a former KGB thug over his own hand-picked Director of National Intelligence and blames the US for poor relations with Russian Federation". Trump did not criticize Russia's support for Syrian leader Bashar Assad, whom the US has called on to step down. We must stand with our intelligence and law enforcement agencies and our President must communicate with clarity to Putin his actions will be countered with firm United States resolve.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from MA, said Trump embarrassed the US. "We know that we have inconvenienced the residents of Helsinki, and we apologize for that", TASS cited the Russian president as saying.
I support the President's tough actions against Putin, but his words must match these actions.
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On Sunday, Trump flew to Finland, the final stop on a weeklong trip that began last Tuesday. Putin", Warner told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Addressing reporters before the one-on-one meeting, Putin struck a casual pose during Trump's remarks, slouching in his chair with his legs wide and eyes low. When asked if he had any incriminating evidence over Trump or his family, Putin gave a laugh.
"I watched quite a bit - in the United States we call it soccer - and I watched quite a bit of it and I watched the entire final and the semifinals", said Trump. "This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves".
Trump began the day by firing a Twitter broadside at his domestic opponents, blaming the diplomatic chill on the election investigation.
Overall it gave a strong impression of the leader of a small, weak country trying hard to impress and flatter the leader of a large, powerful one - except backwards, as if Angela Merkel was being pathetically obsequious towards, say, Miro Cerar.
Former CIA chief John Brennan went further, suggesting Trump should be removed from office: "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous".
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