Putin: US-Russia ties should not be held hostage to Mueller probe

Marcus Newton
July 18, 2018

Analyst Pavel Felgengauer suggested the meeting may have paved the way for a bargain that would see the USA increasing pressure on Iran, and Russian Federation ramping up its influence over Ukraine.

In a statement today Mr Trump said he meant to say "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia".

Speaking to reporters from the White House, Trump said he was surprised at the reaction he received over his public remarks with Putin on Monday. There are a lot of people out there. "There was no collusion at all".

Reading off a written statement, Trump said: "Let me be totally clear in saying that - and I've said this many times - I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued strong words of support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that Trump had criticised during an alliance summit days before his meeting with Putin. "What we intend to do is make sure they don't get away with it again and also to help our allies".

The president also said Monday that Putin's denials of interference were "extremely strong and powerful".

Nearly as soon as the words were spoken, journalists, political commentators and politicians expressed bemusement and anger, with some such as former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan describing them as "treasonous".

"Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse", Trump tweeted Monday morning, blaming "many years of USA foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"

"Canada has been unequivocal in our condemnation of Vladimir Putin and Russia", Trudeau said in response to a reporter's question before listing a host of Russian actions under Putin's watch that Canada has opposed.

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"Given the unfriendliness of the press toward the president, why should we focus on a press conference?"

Other lawmakers have suggested passing resolutions voicing support for intelligence agencies, or spending more to enhance election security and prevent cyber attacks.

"To me, it looks like a D.C. -centered media feeding frenzy", he said, adding: "I think, overall, he is doing a great job and he has my support".

Senior administration officials were quoted as saying that they wanted Trump to say clearly that he believes USA intelligence over Putin and that there will not be any effort by the U.S.to cooperate with Russian Federation on the ongoing probe of Moscow's alleged meddling in US elections.

Hannity said that Trump rightfully met with Putin and likely discussed the two nations' concerns regarding terrorism, the Syrian civil war, and "Iranian aggression".

Some politicians said they would seek remedies against Russian Federation in Congress.

The pair had opened their long-awaited summit Monday with a wink and slouch, respectively, then talked one on one behind closed doors for two-plus hours before the American leader declared their meeting was off to a "very, very good start for everybody".

"Trump essentially disowned the results of his own intelligence services and believed Vladimir Putin", said William Pomeranz, the deputy director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

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