On Monday morning, President Trump and President Vladimir Putin held a press conference following their meeting in Helsinki.
The biggest takeaway was Trump’s refusal to say if he believed U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Instead, he seemed to trust a different source: his pal Putin.
When asked by a reporter if he believes Putin or the U.S. intelligence community about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Trump said, “My people came to me, [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Following the press conference, news anchors were visibly dumbfounded by Trump’s performance. On CNN, Anderson Cooper struck the strongest tone, saying to viewers, “You have been watching one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly that I’ve ever seen.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was similarly shocked with Trump, although he was more indirect in his criticism. “All of you who are watching today will be able to tell your friends, family, your children, your grandchildren, you’re watching a moment of history. It may not be for the right reasons.
Meghan McCain, daughter of Republican Sen. John McCain, tweeted that she was “horrified” by Trump’s statements.
I don’t have anything quippy to tweet. I’m horrified – and have never been more proud of the fact that Putin hates my father so much he personally sanctioned him on Russia’s enemies list.
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 16, 2018
And even over on Fox Business, host Neil Cavuto — a frequent Trump critic — had some damning things to say about the president, calling his performance “disgusting.” He went on that “it’s not a right or left thing to me — it’s just wrong. A U.S. president on foreign soil talking to our biggest enemy … is essentially letting the guy get away with this. And not even offering a mild criticism.”
Neil Cavuto of Fox Business calls Trump's press conference "disgusting", "That sets us back a lot." pic.twitter.com/R2ZIjyFyPR
— Axios (@axios) July 16, 2018
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