US intel chief stands by assessment of Russian meddling

Pauline Gross
July 18, 2018

Subsequently, former CIA Director John Brennan said Trump's behavior during the press conference was "nothing short of treasonous". "However, there are no objective reasons for these difficulties, the current tense atmosphere", he said. "I had to reiterate things I said several times".

Earlier, Trump blamed his own country's past "foolishness and stupidity" for the two powers' hostile relations.

But the biggest fireworks of the press conference concerned allegations that Russian Federation interfered in the election that brought Trump to power.

"Refusing to engage will not accomplish anything", Trump said.

Putin agreed, and said the two had cemented the first steps to restoring an "acceptable level of trust".

"As major nuclear powers, we bear special responsibility for maintaining worldwide security", he said.

The president went on to say he ran a clean campaign, and said it is disappointing his election victory is overshadowed by the Mueller probe.

The press conference came after an hours-long private meeting between Trump and Putin and caps Trump's week-long trip across Europe, where he spent much of his time censuring North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and criticizing British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump thanked the Russian leader and tried to throw the red and white ball to his wife.

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Trump and Putin meeting in Helsinki
This was after he tweeted earlier that Washington's "foolishness and stupidity" was the reason for bad relations. The pair were scheduled to meet one-on-one for just 90 minutes, but appeared to do so for around two hours.

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Putin said discussion topics included arms treaties, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, Syria, North Korea, Russia's opposition to the USA withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and joint business investment opportunities.

Meanwhile, some are calling on Ambassador Huntsman to resign from his position in protest of Trump's rhetoric and demeanor toward Russian Federation. We should have frankly had this dialogue a long time ago.

Many US critics had called for the summit's cancellation after new revelations surrounding the alleged election meddling.

House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered a strongly worded statement, saying there's "no question" that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and noting that US intelligence agencies and a House panel agreed. "Washington knows our position on Iran nuclear deal very well", said Putin. The Russian leader said: "We paid special attention to the bona fide implementation of Minsk accords by Kyiv".

Trump's statement came amid blowback for his weird press conference with Putin, where he went beyond his earlier position of stating that Putin had denied the hack and his own inability to change it.

USA senator, fellow Republican and 2008 presidential runner-up John McCain called the meeting "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory".

He tweeted: "Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russian Federation accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections".

Other high-profile Republicans also expressed dismay. "President Putin just said it's not Russian Federation". Ben Sasse, R-Neb., called it "bizarre" and "flat-out wrong" for Trump to suggest that both countries are to blame for their deteriorated relationship.

Other reports by GizPress

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