The US writer and political activist who was forcibly removed from a room where US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were about to give a joint news conference said he wasn't trying to protest.
Just three days after a grand jury in Washington indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials and charged them with attempting to subvert the 2016 USA election, Trump said "we're all to blame" but found specific fault only with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
'You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader, that I've ever seen'.
Referring to the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers announced Friday, Putin said the special counsel should send Russia a request for criminal extradition and that the Russian government would "analyze it properly" and "send a formal response" back to the US.
He also said that Putin's denial of involvement in the election was "extremely strong and powerful", according to CBS. As Lindsey Graham, the United States 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".
Trump had vowed to seek closer ties with Russian Federation during his election campaign, but his Helsinki appearance did little to quell suspicions of collusion between some on his election team and the Kremlin.
He concluded by suggesting that the Russians must have "damaging information" about Trump that they're holding over his head and using to influence USA policy.
And the top Democrat in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer, said Trump was "putting himself over our country" by siding with Putin instead of his own officials.
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Trump leaned forward in his chair, his hands tented in front of him and frequently glanced over at the Russian president. Trump told reporters Tuesday at the White House that he misspoke at the summit.
"Today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory", McCain said in a statement. He said Putin wanted Clinton to win because of his toughness on Russian Federation. Based on US 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.
Some at Fox seized on tweeted criticism by former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, who said Trump's performance was near treasonous.
"(The) posture of President Trump on Crimea is well-known, and he stands firmly by it", Putin said. But Monday's session was condemned in advance by members of Congress from both parties after the USA indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump's presidential campaign. "This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves", Graham said on Twitter.
Not surprisingly, those words delighted Russia's foreign ministry, which retweeted Trump with the comment, "We agree".
"Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this unsafe behaviour is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump", he tweeted. He also attacked his Democratic opponents and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and said he holds both countries accountable for their state of relations while asked about the election meddling.
Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger called Trump's comments rebuking the United States intelligence community assessment "a disservice", though he did not mention Trump by name.
Several dozen Trump supporters, many waving American flags and sporting "Make America Great Again" caps, cheered Trump near his waterfront hotel in Helsinki.
It was also dubbed as the "Treason Summit" by CIA Director John Brennan.