President Trump Sides With Putin At Historic Summit

Vladimir Putin

Mr Trump contradicted United States investigators - who believe Russian hackers interfered in the 2016 presidential election - and said there was no reason for Moscow to meddle in the vote. The US doesn't have an extradition treaty with Moscow and can't force the Russians to hand over citizens.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the Russians "were relentless in their efforts to meddle in the 2016 elections, and their efforts are ongoing".

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump's actions had "strengthened our adversaries while weakening our defences and those of our allies".

"We both spoke with Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) and they would like to do certain things with Syria having to do with the safety of Israel", Trump told a joint news conference.

Mr Trump cowardly dodged the question without denouncing Russian Federation, or even hinting that there was any misconduct.

Lisa Murkowski says Trump "ultimately validated Putin at the expense of American intelligence by giving credence to Putin's claim to have not interfered in our elections".

"We were not able to clear all the backlog, but I think we made a first important step in this direction", he said.

Trump responded, "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today".

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

The summit, which is being closely watched around the world, was condemned in advance by members of Congress from both parties after the USA indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Mr Trump's presidential campaign.

The news conference also rattled some officials in the State and Defense Departments and in USA intelligence agencies, according to officials in five government offices.

Other high-profile Republicans also expressed dismay.

Arizona Republican senator Jeff Flake, a frequent critic of Trump, said: "I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression".

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The host also mocked Trump for blaming both the United States and Russian Federation for the break down in the relationship between the two countries.

Former CIA Director John Brennan rages that, "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki. was. treasonous".

When an Associated Press reporter asked Putin whether he had compromising material on Trump or Trump's family, there were titters and nervous chuckles in the room.

Republican Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said: "The President must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally". He says measures must be taken to prevent future meddling and to hold Russian Federation accountable.

"We have not been getting along well for the last number of years, " Mr Trump said as he and Putin sat down at the Presidential Palace in Finland's capital.

Donald Trump's "America First" slogan morphed into "Me First" as the president unloaded on his own intelligence community and Justice Department to portray himself as the victim of a conspiracy to deny him legitimacy.

"(Mr Putin) said there was no collusion whatsoever. It gave no further details.

A post-summit news conference in Helsinki with Trump and Putin was "everything the Kremlin realistically could have hoped for", said Mark Galeotti, a Russian Federation scholar at the Institute of International Relations Prague. We are accusing President Trump of all kinds of things that I do not believe he's guilty of.

The vehicle, called Kortezh - the Russian word for "motorcade" - rivals the USA president's "Beast" limo in its imposing aura.

Putin said that he was not even aware that Trump was in Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant when it has been previously reported that Trump invited him to attend.

"Yes I do. I hold both countries responsible".

During the conference, Putin reiterated his denial of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential elections.

The Russian leader said Russia and the U.S. should discuss a possible extension of the 2010 New START nuclear arms reduction treaty and the implementation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. Standing alongside Trump in Helsinki, Putin said he had evidence that $400 million dollars in unlawfully acquired cash may have been funneled to the election campaign of Trump's defeated opponent Hillary Clinton.

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