Trump faces blistering criticism at home over 'shameful' Putin summit

Saul Bowman
July 18, 2018

Trump's Monday's press conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin has to stand as one of the most jaw-dropping moments in a presidency chock-a-block with troubling events.

Republican Sen. John McCain said in a statement that 'Today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory'.

"The administration should proceed with caution in dealing with Putin and should hold Russian Federation accountable for their attacks on democratic societies and institutions", he said in a statement.

The US and Russian presidents held almost two hours of closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday.

But Trump's top aide signaled that would not be the approach the president takes.

Russia has agreed with the secure Syria's border with Israel in line with a 1974 cease-fire agreement over the occupied Golan Heights, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"President Putin says it's not Russian Federation". "I wanted him to win". And we paint ours as if ours is always just on the up and up, but we get involved in foreign countries' elections.

"This was not the plan", a U.S. official directly involved in planning the Helsinki summit between the leaders told CNN.

Trump's appearance drew an avalanche of backlash from both parties in Washington, with some U.S. officials going so far as to condemn his remarks as "treasonous".

What has U.S. reaction been?

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appealed to both Mr Trump and Mr Putin to eliminate the Iranian presence, which the Jewish state regards as an existential threat.

Isto says her party would like to borrow a page out of Trump's immigration policy playbook in Finland.

"We're not going to be able to mobilize anybody for anything after this unless he shows real toughness toward Russian Federation, which kind of undercuts the whole goal of going over there", said James Jeffrey, a former USA ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush. Russian Federation is ranked 148 and the USA sits at 45.

Another senior Republican, Sen Lindsey Graham, also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted that it was a "missed firmly hold Russian Federation accountable for 2016 meddling".

"The president of the United States essentially capitulated, and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin", said James Clapper, a career intelligence official who served as director of national intelligence through the 2016 race. He's a disgrace to the great Federal Bureau of Investigation, a disgrace, and how he's still being paid is beyond belief, ' Trump said. Republican patriots: "Where are you?"

Meanwhile, Vice-President Mike Pence, in a speech at the US Department of Commerce, defended the summit and praised President Trump. He called the appointment of a special counsel on Russian interference and the involvement of United States persons in that effort, Robert Mueller III, a "disgrace" to the country and an impediment to his own efforts to improve ties with Russia.

What did President Putin say?

He told CBS News that he didn't "expect anything" from Putin, while his national security adviser said the USA wasn't looking for any "concrete deliverables". "We'll let them think and make their proposals and suggestions in this regard".

McCain's absence from the Capitol has been obvious throughout his battle with brain cancer, but no more so than during debates over the relationship between the United States and Russian Federation, as well as between the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

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