TRUMP FALLOUT | President says 'Fake News’ misreporting Putin summit


10:38 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is unbowed by bipartisan criticism of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a Tuesday tweet the President calls the Monday summit in Helsinki “even better” than his meeting with NATO allies last week in Brussels.

Trump is facing bipartisan criticism for his refusal to publicly challenge Putin over Russia’s election hacking and for doubting U.S. intelligence agency conclusions about Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Trump backers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have criticized his performance.

Trump is taking aim at a familiar target — the media — saying his NATO meeting was “great” but that he “had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way - the Fake News is going Crazy!”

Even hosts on the Trump-preferred Fox News have been critical of his handling of the summit.

10:15 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some lawmakers are talking about passing a resolution in support of U.S. intelligence agencies after President Donald Trump appeared to cast doubt on their findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, tells CNN the talk picked up following Trump’s Helsinki press conference. “Is that going to change anything?” he asked. “Probably not.” Congressional resolutions don’t carry the force of law.

Other Republican lawmakers have joined the criticism.

Sen. Ben Sasse-R-Neb., told CBS “This Morning” that “the president isn’t leading. We negotiated from a position of weakness yesterday. Vladimir Putin walked away with a win.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told CNN that Trump’s performance was “very embarrassing.”

But at least one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, dismissed the president’s critics as those who hate the president.

Trump tweeted his thanks.

8:35 a.m.

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci says President Donald Trump must waste no time in disavowing his Helsinki press conference comments, where Trump appeared to doubt U.S. intelligence and accepted Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russian election meddling.

Trump made a “strategic mistake” Monday that will drive his supporters into an alliance with opposition Democrats, Scaramucci warned on CNN. “He’s got to reverse course.”

“I’d be issuing a statement,” Scaramucci added. He said Trump must quickly say that he misspoke and that “the evidence is obviously irrefutable.”

Scaramucci added, “The optics of the situation are a disaster.”

9: 57 a.m.

MOSCOW (AP) — For Vladimir Putin, holding a summit with Donald Trump was a victory in itself.

While the U.S. leader went home to widespread criticism after their Monday meeting, the Russian president came home to universal praise in Moscow — even though there were no major breakthroughs.

Yet most Russians aren’t saying Putin vanquished Trump. Instead they’re sympathizing with the U.S. president, portraying Trump as a victim of irrational domestic critics and aggressive journalists, because they are pinning hopes on him for improving relations over the long haul.

With U.S.-Russia tensions exceptionally high, the Kremlin set low expectations for the summit.

“Nobody in Moscow who is realistic had any illusions that this one meeting can produce any breakthroughs,” said Alexander Gabuev of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The hope was at least we can start talking to each other.”

And in that, Putin got what he went for. Gabuev said Putin ably won over his domestic audiences, notably by pushing back at accusations of Russian election meddling with his own accusations against the U.S.

Russians welcomed Putin’s offer to allow the FBI to interrogate Russian military intelligence officials accused of hacking the 2016 U.S. election campaign. And they especially welcomed Putin’s insistence on a tit -for-tat deal aimed at discrediting U.S. sanctions against rich and powerful Russians.

“If there’s suspicion in America in relation to employees of our intelligence bodies, then let (U.S. investigators) come here,” ultranationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky said. “Come here, meet, discuss, and all questions will be decided in the right way.”

He dismissed the latest indictment by special investigator Robert Mueller — which includes detailed accusations and description of alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic Party — as “just gossip.”

Unsurprisingly, Russians welcomed Trump’s suggestion that he trusts Putin more than U.S. intelligence agencies.

Russian officialdom “will be super-cautious in order not to damage Donald Trump any more than he did himself,” Gabuev said.

Instead of being portrayed as a duel on the world stage, the summit was viewed in Russia as a meeting of two powerful men who discussed global problems and then had to face down a crowd of pesky journalists.

“Those who opposed the meeting will try to devalue the agreements made,” said Vladimir Olenchenko of Russia’s Institute of Global Economics and International Relations. “We hope that Trump will have enough political will and patience to overcome the resistance and continue dialogue with Russia.”

Putin sought to emphasize areas where Moscow and Washington could find some common ground, such as the Syrian crisis.

“What makes you think that President Trump trusts me and I fully trust him?” Putin said. “He defends the interests of the United States, and I defend the interests of the Russian Federation. We are looking for ways how to narrow our differences and make our work constructive.”

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.