Political "storm" in the US after Trump's statements in Helsinki
US President Donald Trump today hinted after a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Helsinki that he had no reason to believe US intelligence but trusted Vladimir Putin when he told him his country was not involved in election process in 2016.
Although he was under pressure from his critics, from allied countries, and even from his own advisers, to stick to a hard line, Trump did not say a single word of criticism about Moscow or any of the issues that have brought relations between the two great powers at their lowest point since the Cold War. On the contrary, he denounced the "stupidity" of his own country and in particular the decision to investigate Russia's involvement in the presidential election.
Trump's stance is expected to provoke a political storm in the United States, where the White House has been trying for months to dispel allegations that Trump is reluctant to stand up to Putin.
His remarks were described as "treacherous" by a former CIA director and condemned as "disgraceful" by a Republican senator, although other Republican politicians were more cautious in their reactions.
The summit with Putin came just 12 hours after Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller referred XNUMX Russian agents to charges of cyberattacking on Democratic Party computers and stealing thousands of documents.
Asked if he believed the US intelligence service, which concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help him win Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump said he was not convinced. "I see no reason why it should be," he said, noting that President Putin had categorically denied it, once again today.
Before the summit even began, Trump blamed his country for the deteriorating relations between the two sides. "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been so bad, thanks to many years of American nonsense and stupidity and now, the Witch Hunt," he wrote on Twitter.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also responded on Twitter: "We agree."
At the joint press conference, journalists pressured Trump to criticize Russia but he avoided it. When asked if he blames Russia for the bad relations, he replied: "I consider both countries responsible. I think the US was a fool. "We were all fools," he said, before turning the debate to his victory in the election.
"I easily defeated Hillary Clinton and honestly, we defeated her σαμε We won that race and it is a shame to have even one bubble on this issue," he said.
His warm remarks about Russia also made an impression, as he repeatedly reprimanded traditional US allies at the NATO summit last week and during his visit to Britain. When asked if Putin is an enemy, he said: "I actually called him a competitor and he is a good competitor and I think the word competitor is a slip of the tongue."
Putin stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries and praised Trump. At one point he interrupted the press conference to give him a soccer ball. When asked if Trump wanted to win the 2016 election and if he had instructed Russian officials to help him, he replied that he wanted a Trump victory but called the allegations of Russian involvement "nonsense."
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has warned that Trump's stance sends a message of "weakness" to Moscow. "A missed opportunity from President Trump," Graham said in a Twitter post, noting that the president did not blame Russia for its involvement in the 2016 election and did not send a "strong warning" to Moscow about its stance. in future electoral processes.
"This response from President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and will create many more problems than it solves," he added.
Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona known for his criticism of Trump, called US President Donald Trump's statements in Helsinki "shameful."
"I never thought that one day I would see our American president standing on the same pedestal as the Russian president and blaming the United States for Russian aggression. This is infamous, "Flake wrote on Twitter.
Former CIA Director Barack Obama John Brennan went a step further, implying that Trump should be fired for "betrayal." "Donald Trump's performance at the press conference in Helsinki reaches and exceeds the threshold of Breach of Duty. It touches betrayal. Not only were his comments stupid, but Putin has him in his pocket. Republican Patriots: Where Are You? ” Brennan wrote on Twitter.
Many Democrats have also launched anti-Trump rhetoric. "Donald Trump had the opportunity to oppose Putin. Today, less than 72 hours after the referral of 12 young Russians by the Ministry of Justice for the attack in the 2016 elections, he accuses "the two countries", commented the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
"Trump continues to sell the United States to Putin and Russia," he said, adding that "the failure of the United States to defend itself is a betrayal," said MP Jimmy Gomez.
And Democratic Sen. Chuck Sumer said Trump's actions "strengthened our adversaries while weakening our defenses and those of our allies." "It is reckless, dangerous and timid for the President of the United States to side with President Putin against US law enforcement, US defense officials and US intelligence. "The president puts himself above the country," he stressed.
Even tougher was the statement by Democrat Adam Siff, who wrote on Twitter: "President Trump just attacked the intelligence and law enforcement services because they did their job, while standing next to a dictator who interfered in our elections. to help get Trump elected. "