Putin summit: U.S. president under fire over poll meddling comments

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In fact, by asking tough questions at Trump's joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin today, reporters once again showed that they are the sentinels of America democracy.

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump stood in Helsinki on Monday beside his patron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and refused to confront him on Moscow's systematic interference in the 2016 USA presidential election on his behalf, its military intervention into a sovereign neighbor or on its continued effort to undermine democratic systems worldwide through propaganda and cyberwarfare.

He added that he had spent a great deal of time talking to Putin about the accusations of election meddling, but that he had "no reason to believe" that President Putin's government had interfered with the U.S. presidential campaign in 2016.

Even as he rejected the notion that Russian Federation had interfered in the election, Putin defended the veracity of the information that was revealed in the Democratic National Committee's hacked emails, which were made public by WikiLeaks in July 2016.

Said Trump: "My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russian Federation".

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, a Republican and a Trump appointee, responded to Trump's remarks and stood by the United States agencies.

Putin insisted after the meeting that the "Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere in internal American affairs", and Trump declined to dispute his assertions, instead saying Putin "has an interesting idea" about the issue of interference, the Washington Post reported.

Mr. Trump talked with Hannity about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation and said it had driven "a phony wedge - a phony witch hunt rigged deal" between US and Russian Federation. "I don't see any reason why it should be", he replied.

Some US politicians had called for the summit to be cancelled after 12 Russian military intelligence agents were indicted last week by US special counsel Robert Mueller, accused of hacking the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He denounced the federal investigation into Russian interference efforts as a "disaster for our country". "We've all been foolish", he said, before veering into a discussion about his election victory.

Astonished Republicans and Democrats uniformly condemned Trump, with harsh criticism coming even from hosts on Fox News - a network normally friendly to the president.

Liina Isto
Liina Isto deputy chair of Finns Party Youth Wing. Image Yle Zena Iovino

It certainly did. With his remarks in Helsinki and at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, Trump has signaled a historic shift in USA foreign policy that may determine the future of this nation and the fate of his presidency.

"Today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory", he said.

"I think we're doing really well with Russian Federation as of today".

Trump's meeting with Putin in Helsinki was his first time sharing the worldwide stage with a man he has described as an important USA competitor - but whom he has also praised a strong, effective leader. Dealing with two nuclear nations. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are - a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and overseas.

- Putin didn't deny he has kompromat on Trump.

"We've known for years that the Russians routinely try and influence USA elections", he said.

For more than 15 months, Donald Trump and his administration have refused to publicly condemn the systematic torture, abuse, and murder of LGBTQ people occurring in Chechnya as Vladimir Putin has licensed the violence to continue.

"When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs".

Some career diplomats also expressed alarm. "Russia and the United States will work jointly [on this issue]". Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are-a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and overseas.

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