Trump appeared to give credence to denials by Putin that Russian Federation had interfered in the 2016 US presidential election or was planning to act similarly in the future, despite the conclusions of USA intelligence and law enforcement agencies and congressional committees that Moscow intervened in the 2016 election with a state-directed campaign of e-mail hacking and public-opinion manipulation.
Trump told CNBC in an interview airing Friday he had been "far tougher on Russia" than possibly any USA president, ever, pointing to his recent attack on Germany for their proposed second natural gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation.
Special counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutors are investigating Russian meddling and have obtained indictments of Russian intelligence officials.
Maybe Trump knows that Putin can force him out of the White House, after all, he might be the man who put Trump there.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats appeared to be shocked on Thursday when he learned Putin was being invited by the Trump administration to the nation's capital after spending much of the week reiterating warnings about Russia's dubious intentions regarding the United States electoral process. Dan Sullivan said "I wouldn't do it, that's for damn sure". I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be. but I have confidence in both parties.
In a tweet, Trump said that he was "severely criticised for being too nice to Putin" before he termed the "fake news media" as "hypocrites".
However, the one-on-one discussions were fairly private with no officials being briefed on what had been said, as Trump insisted only translators could listen in. Senior Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham said Trump's answer on meddling "will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness". He reiterated there had been no collusion between his campaign and Moscow, an allegation that has dogged his presidency from the start.
Trump has caused confusion throughout the week with his back-and-forth statements on Russia's interference with the 2016 elections.
Trump appeared to answer, "No".
A lot of the details in the WaPo report ring familiar: Trump initially thought he did the right thing and was proud of his performance, but then he found out he was getting an avalanche of media coverage and his mood soured. I went to Eastern Congo where 5.4 million people had been killed in the last 15 years, the greatest death toll since the Second World War.
He did, however, tell CBS News this week that he holds Vladimir Putin responsible for election meddling.
"Well I would, because he's in charge of the country". I don't think there's ever one single person that he relies on.
He said at the United Nations he was "happy that the two leaders of two very important countries are continuing to meet". Califonia Rep. Jimmy Gomez said: "To side with Putin over USA intelligence is disgusting; to fail to defend the USA is on the verge of treason".
Putin has rejected accusations that his government meddled in the election won by Trump.
Though Trump has long signified a desire to have a strong relationship with Putin and often complimented the Russian leader, his administration has maintained support for Ukraine in its fight against the Russian-leaning separatists in the Donbass region. The State Department, however, later called it "absolutely absurd".
The U.S. Senate rebuked the president for not outright rejecting the proposal, overwhelmingly passing a non-binding resolution against allowing Russian Federation to question U.S. officials.
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