Standing next to Putin, Trump won’t say that Russia interfered in election
- What Trump said: Standing next to the Russian president at a press conference, President Trump declined to side with US intelligence on election interference.
- The reaction: We are following what political leaders are saying in the wake of this extraordinary news conference.
- The backdrop: Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election. This meeting comes days after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democrats’ emails.
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Senior Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, a key Trump ally, just issued a statement, following President Trump’s explosive news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During the news conference, Trump said he had no reason to think Russia hacked into the US election.
But Hatch of Utah disagrees, and said it’s a known fact that Russia interfered in the US election.
Here’s his full statement:
“Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Our nation’s top intelligence agencies all agree on that point. From the President on down, we must do everything in our power to protect our democracy by securing future elections from foreign influence and interference, regardless of what Vladimir Putin or any other Russian operative says. I trust the good work of our intelligence and law enforcement personnel who have sworn to protect the United States of America from enemies foreign and domestic.”
A US official directly involved with Helsinki summit sums it up like this: “This was not the plan.”
While it was widely expected from planning conversations that President Trump wouldn’t change tactics here in Helsinki and aggressively confront Putin on election interference, the hope and plan was that he would do what he has done before: pivot.
But he doubled down instead, which again “was not the plan”
President Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin has not gone over with US allies.
Here’s how a few are reacting:
- One senior diplomat of a US ally said Trump’s performance was “an abomination.”
- Another diplomat called it “frightening.”
- Following Trump siding with Putin and failing to raise Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian diplomat said: “I’m exploding here, like so many people around the world who hold America dear.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the talks between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Trump were “magnificent,” Russian media reports.
He added that the talks were “better than super.”
Democratic senators are reacting to President Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During the conference, Trump declined to side with US intelligence on the issue of Russian election interference. It came days after he criticized top US allies at the NATO summit.
Here’s how the Democrats are reacting:
Chris Murphy from Connecticut
Mark Warner from Virginia
Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts
Tim Kane from Virginia
Bill Nelson from Florida
As CNN reached out for reaction, a senior White House official asks: “How bad was that?”
That is the mindset right now among some of the President’s top advisers. The ones in Helsinki will be on a plane for seven or eight hours, unable to spin this.
The ones in the West Wing are trying to figure out at this hour how to respond and redirect how election meddling and Trump’s own words and allegiance with Putin overtook the entire summit.
A Republican official close — and friendly — to the White House said, “We now know why he wanted to meet one on one.”
Two Republican lawmakers took to Twitter to criticize President Trump’s performance during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sen. Jeff Flake from Arizona
Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina
CNN’s Anderson Cooper reacted to President Trump’s remarks at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after they ended.
Trump, at the news conference, said he didn’t see a reason for Russia hacking into the 2016 presidential election.
Cooper said Trump was given the chance the opportunity to give a statement on election interference, and “he blinked.”
Former CIA Director John Brennan just tweeted a strongly worded reaction to President Trump’s news conference, saying it “was nothing short of treasonous.”
Here’s his tweet: