President Donald Trump called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling a "disaster" on Monday, again questioned whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election that he won and suggested he equally trusted his national intelligence director and Vladimir Putin - all as he stood next to the Russian leader.
Some issues arose at the beginning of the press conference, with an activist/journalist being forcibly escorted out by security just a few short minutes into the conference.
"This is freaky and flat-out wrong". "The United States is not to blame".
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has criticized the president's posture toward Russian Federation in the past, called it "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory".
Trump also continued to deny that there had been any other collusion between his campaign and Russians, declaring: "We ran a brilliant campaign and that's why I'm president". "This is shameful", he said in a tweet.
A Reuters journalist asked Trump about a post on his Twitter account earlier in the day in which he blamed the breakdown in U.S.
"He took the word of the KGB over the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency", he said. It's time to wake up & face reality.
Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who regularly plays golf with the President, said the meeting was a "missed opportunity" by Trump to hold Russian Federation accountable for the 2016 meddling "and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections". As Lindsey Graham, the U.S. senator from SC, put it: "This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness, and create far more problems than it solves".
"Most importantly we have a lot of good things to talk about", he said in his opening remarks.
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All four members of Maine's congressional delegation are criticizing President Donald Trump for downplaying Russia's interference in the 2016 election. He also said that Putin's denial of involvement in the election was "extremely strong and powerful", according to CBS.
Jeff Flake is another personality who slammed Trump for saying that the United States was also to "blame" for the tensions between the two countries.
A senior GOP congressional aide told CNN it's "shocking he would disrespect our intel community on foreign soil".
McCain's fellow Arizona Sen.
Sen. Angus King, an independent who frequently sides with Democrats on most issues and who like Collins sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Russian Federation needs to be held accountable.
"Our nation's top intelligence agencies all agree on that point", he said.
Trump said during the news conference that his message was "best delivered in person".
Trump has said he will raise the election meddling but does not expect to get anywhere. "That's a real problem for this president to say that on the national stage".
What could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russian Federation over those of the United States? Putin must be held accountable - not rewarded.
"Our relationship with Russian Federation is strained because of the very malign actions he's refusing to take Russian Federation to task for", tweeted Democratic US Representative Gregory Meeks, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Amid global security matters and the USA election controversy, there was little mention of Europe. But it won't happen on its own.