That came three days after the US Justice Department indicted 12 Russians for hacking Democratic Party computers, the latest in a series of actions taken by the US government since late 2016 in retribution for what intelligence agencies say was a broad plan to support Trump's election campaign directed by Putin himself. He said Trump's refusal to condemn Russian interference in the 2016 election makes the USA "look like a pushover".
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer speaks to the news media about President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2018.
Based on USA intelligence community findings, as well as the findings of the House Intelligence Committee, it is abundantly clear that Russian Federation did indeed interfere with the 2016 elections.
USA lawmakers roundly condemned Trump for his comments at a news conference with Putin where he cast doubt on his own intelligence agencies' findings that Russian Federation meddled with the 2016 US presidential election.
In this case, Trump sided with his Russian counterpart by openly questioning his own intelligence agencies' findings that Moscow was behind the 2016 USA elections.
Sen. 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.
"Don't make the relationship between Russian Federation and the United States - don't hold it hostage of this internal political struggle", he said, adding that "it's nothing to be proud of for American democracy, to use such dirty methods in the political rivalry".
He challenged Republicans to move beyond words and confront the president directly by increasing sanctions on Russian Federation and requesting testimony about the summit from Trump administration officials, among other things. "I am also hopeful President Trump discussed Russia's role in the Balkans, as Iowa's sister state, Kosovo, continues to be threatened by Russia's hybrid warfare tactics in Serbia". He just said it's not Russian Federation. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called it "shameful" and Sen.
"We have not been getting along well for the last number of years", Trump said after arriving at the Presidential Palace in Finland's capital, where the leaders are meeting.
"We don't have anything on them, and there can't be anything on them", Putin said.
Trump tweeted "Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of USA foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Trump's remarks on his European trip, including Monday's news conference, have strengthened America's adversaries.
Trump said he'd give it to his 12-year-old son Barron, a football fan. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally whose wife serves as Trump's ambassador to the Vatican, called Trump's stance "the most serious mistake of his presidency."
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan tweeted that Trump's behavior exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump and Putin touted the summit as a "success", vowing to improve ties on a range of issues.
Democrats across the board slammed Trump for his comments in Helsinki.
Putin "just said it is not Russian Federation".