Congress reacts to Trump's Putin defense

Sergey Lavrov listens to Bolivian counterpart Fernando Huanacuni Mamani during their meeting in Moscow Aug. 16 2017

Ivan Sekretarev AP

"During today's meeting, I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections", President Trump said.

President Donald Trump said he addressed Russia's interference in the USA 2016 election and that President Vladimir Putin was "extremely strong" in his denials.

"We have a lot of good things to talk about and things to talk about", Trump said sitting alongside Putin.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, gestures while speaking as Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens during their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. But Monday's session was condemned in advance by members of Congress from both parties after the US indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump's presidential campaign.

When asked whether he believes the US intelligence community or Putin on the issue of Russian interference, President Trump gave Putin credibility by accepting his denial and failed to accept the USA assessment.

Putin added: "I did hear these rumours. And also, for your team itself doing so well", Trump said to Putin.

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Rather, when pressed about the verdict of his own intelligence chiefs, Trump stressed that Putin had delivered a "powerful" denial of any Russian vote meddling and said the USA investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller had been a "disaster" for the US.

The man held a sign that reportedly said "Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty".

Both the USA and Kremlin leaders have furiously denied Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation. John McCain was most outspoken, declaring that Trump made a "conscious choice to defend a tyrant" and achieved "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory." Sen. "We ran a brilliant campaign, and that's why I am president". "I really think the world wants to see us get along".

Or, Mr. Putin said, "we can meet you halfway" and allow Mr. Mueller to travel to Russia to observe the questioning of the officers by Russian authorities. "Any specific material, if such things arise, we are willing to analyze together". It's a negative force.

After Trump's statements, he and Putin shook hands before the media. Putin noted that Russia would expect the U.S.to return the favor and cooperate in the Russian probe against William Browder, a British investor charged of financial crimes in Russia. A one-on-one meeting between the two men went on for more than two hours rather than the scheduled 90 minutes. While President Trump spoke for some time and Putin stayed largely quiet, the body language between the two presidents illustrated their respective styles going into the meeting. After those meetings, the American and Russian groups participated in a working lunch with both presidents. "Very, very good start for everybody", Trump said.

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