Meeting with Putin angered many ‘haters’ who wanted to see ‘boxing match’

Frederick Owens
July 20, 2018

"He was nearly was reading this, very much an example of a White House in damage control mode, where the communications team has worked very hard to parse the statement of the president in Helsinki and try to turn it into something other than what many people believe they witnessed - and that was a president standing apart from his intelligence agencies and the conclusion that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 USA election", said Halkett.

Rick Wilson, a conservative who has always been critical of Mr Trump, says elected party members are horrified by his latest controversy.

"That was odd. But that's OK", he said.

Donald Trump was criticised by Americans on both the right and left when he appeared to side with Vladimir Putin, and not his own intelligence agency, over accusations Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 United States election.

His remarks came during a meeting with vice president Mike Pence, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and several members of Congress.

He cited Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denials of such interference.

"We see much of the world threatening to return to a more risky, more brutal, way of doing business", he said.

That's just how much damage Trump did to his presidency with his embarrassing performance in Helsinki on Monday.

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"We will stop it, we will repel it", Trump vowed.

He said that he accepted the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation meddled in the election, but added: "It could be other people also".

His obsequious behaviour in Finland has seen shockwaves ripple across the USA and the world, with even senior Republicans condemning his comments.

Tweeted Trump: "So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki". "The President must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally".

Mr Trump responded by talking about what he called a missing Democratic National Committee server. "We know they interfered with our elections, and we have passed sanctions on Russian Federation to hold them accountable".

He also spoke for equality, saying that "I would have thought we had figured that out by now". Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan called Russia's government "menacing" and said they could consider additional sanctions on Russian Federation.

GOP congressional operative Doug Heye told the Wall Street Journal he had noted that personal criticism of Mr Trump tended to backfire in electoral losses - but that it was easier to push back in "substantive terms".

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