Trump returns from summit with Putin to forceful criticism

Andrew Harnik | AP  President Donald Trump walks towards the West Wing of the White House in Washington Wednesday

Andrew Harnik | AP President Donald Trump walks towards the West Wing of the White House in Washington Wednesday

In a bipartisan showing, key Senate Intelligence committee members on Monday blasted President Trump for failing to publicly blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for hacking the 2016 US presidential election during the two leaders' joint press conference in Finland.

According to CNN, former USA intelligence chiefs John Brennan, Chuck Hagel, James Clapper, and Michael Hayden all condemned President Trump's news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to justify the hacking of Democrats because the information dispersed was true, after denying that Russia had interfered in the United States 2016 presidential election.

"There is no question that Russian Federation attacked our democracy in 2016 by interfering in the election, as our American intelligence community long ago concluded", Smith said in a prepared statement.

"I reassured President Trump that Russian Federation stands ready to extend this treaty, to prolong it, but we have to agree on the specifics at first, because we have some questions to our American partners", Putin told Fox News in an interview after a summit with Trump on Monday in Helsinki.

"My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, some others, they said they think it's Russia", Trump said at the news conference.

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"I don't want to insult President Trump when I say this - and I may come as rude - but before he announced that he will run for presidency, he was of no interest for us".

Asked whether he had wanted Mr Trump to win the 2016 election and had instructed officials to help him, Mr Putin said "Yes I did", although he denied any interference, saying the allegations were "complete nonsense".

Putin then added: "I had to repeat Russian Federation has and will never interfere with USA domestic affairs in an election campaign". "Absolutely I'm with the president on this; the (US) intelligence community was full of biased people", Republican Senator Rand Paul told CNN.

His comments drew widespread, bipartisan condemnations in the US, with several critics calling them "disgraceful".

"President Trump has an army of elected officials, appointed officials and highly partisan members of the media who serve as his enablers, remaining silent, tacitly or explicitly endorsing statements they know to be untrue or policies they know to be unwise or risky", professor of American Studies Glenn Alt- schuler of Cornell University told The Straits Times. "Putin is no friend to the United States".

"As long as they continue to do what they are now doing, and as long as the Republicans control both Houses of Congress and an ever larger proportion of the judiciary, he will reign as well as rule".

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By 230-183, the House rejected a Democratic measure endorsing Speaker Paul Ryan's remarks criticizing Russian Federation . But diverting from his typewritten notes, the President added: "It could be other people also".

"It was a different type of meeting compared to like the North Korea summit", DeSantis said.

"We had direct, open, deeply productive dialogue", Trump said.

Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a close Trump ally who is running for governor, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russian election meddling and said the Trump administration has been tougher toward Russia than its predecessor.

Days before the summit, Coats had spoken publicly of his concerns about cyber threats to US national security and singled out Russian Federation as the most aggressive foreign actor in that arena.

Trump's decision to side with Putin left a wake of confusion and outrage in the US.

"A single, ominous question now hangs over the White House: what could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russian Federation over those of the United States".

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At a joint appearance in Finland with Vladimir Putin, Trump repeated the Russian leader's denials about involvement in the election.

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