Trump Faces Flak At Home Over Soft Corner To Russia
President Donald Trump faced a barrage of criticism including from within his administration and his party for defending Moscow and contradicting the American intelligence community’s claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.
At a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin following the Helsinki summit Monday, a reporter asked Trump if he believed his own intelligence agencies or Putin on allegations of Russian meddling in the US election.
“They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin — he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump told reporters, adding that he does not “see any reason why it would be” Russia. When a similar question was directed at Putin, he rejected the allegations.
Immediately after that, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a statement insisting that the Intelligence Community is “clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”
Senior Republican Senator John McCain made a scathing attack of Trump, saying that Monday’s press conference in Helsinki was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” and “a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience.”
The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate”, according to him. He described the summit in Helsinki as “a tragic mistake.”
“President Trump and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world,” McCain said in a lengthy statement.
The chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee also condemned Trump’s “bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain.”
Former House Speaker and one of Trump’s closest allies Newt Gingrich demanded that the president must clarify his statements in Helsinki on US intelligence system and Putin. “It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected,” he said on Twitter.
Former CIA director John Brennan questioned Trump’s credibility. He accused that the US President is “wholly in the pocket of Putin. Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki was nothing short of treasonous, according to him.
Top Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer expressed strong doubt that the reason for Trump to put the interests of Russia over those of the United States is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over him.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also attacked the President. “President Trump, I just saw your press conference with President Putin and it was embarrassing. I mean, you stood there like a little wet noodle, like a little fanboy,” the actor-turned politician said in an Instagram video.
by RTTNews Staff Writer
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