Trump Backs Putin On Election Meddling At Summit

Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki

On Friday, a USA special counsel announced indictments of 12 Russian spies on charges of hacking Democratic Party computer networks as part of the election meddling, the second set of charges against Russians in an investigation that Trump calls a political witch hunt. "I have confidence in both parties", he said of Putin and us intelligence.

The Russian foreign ministry "liked" his words and tweeted back: "We agree".

Republican Will Hurd said he had seen Russian intelligence manipulate many people in his earlier career as a CIA officer.

"All I can do is ask the question", he added.

Speaking in the Finnish capital, Trump acknowledged that top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTrump stuns the world at Putin summit Trump: "Phony witch hunt" drove wedge between US, Russia Press: Whose side is Trump on?

And they say that on the same day Mr Trump, in a speech, urged Russia to find Mrs Clinton's missing emails, Russian hackers tried for the first time to break into email accounts used by her personal office. "There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russian Federation, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals". It's time more Republicans started saying so.

The indictment Friday of 12 Russian officials on charges of hacking and other related crimes does not appear to have changed his mind. Several prominent Republicans expressed disappointment with the president's performance. Former House speaker, Newt Gingrich assessed it as "the most serious mistake of his presidency" which needed correction "immediately".

Democrats pleaded with their GOP colleagues who have majority control of Congress to rein in the president and become a stronger legislative check on the executive branch.

In an extraordinary moment in the lengthy interview, Mr Putin also said his interviewer was "completely deceived" about the "real situation" in Syria and went into attack mode when he was asked why his political enemies have been targeted.

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"We need our Republican colleagues to stand up for the good of this country", he said.

However, before the summit began, Mr Trump blamed his own country for the deterioration in relations. But it is in line with his comment in reference to a previous Putin denial that "I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it".

Senator Marco Rubio likewise affirmed his support of the intelligence community's findings.

"The problem isn't Trump having a summit; it's Trump having a policy that's bad for America, bad for our allies, and only good for Vladimir Putin", Kerry said, calling Trump's behavior at the press conference "disgraceful".

Asked whether Russian Federation was responsible at all, Trump said "we're all to blame" for the soured relations. He also reaffirmed his commitment to "provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security". Even a year and a half into his presidency, he seems to regard any admission that Russian Federation intervened as undermining the legitimacy of his election victory.

While some GOP lawmakers were less strident in their criticism of Trump, their discomfort was clear. Pretty much every one of them is a major industrial tycoon of greater scale than President Trump. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called it "shameful" and Sen.

The only tangible sign of progress was Putin's gift of a World Cup soccer ball to Trump. Republican Patriots: "Where are you???"

"The President must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally", Mr Ryan said in a statement.

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