After a one-on-one meeting today in Helsinki, Russian President Putin admitted that he was rooting for Trump to win the 2016 U.S. election, while both men denied any foreign interference in the election's outcome.
Minutes earlier, on the same platform, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered a reason, even while denying Moscow ever meddled: He wanted Trump to win. "I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be".
President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, were at pains to stress the constructive nature of their closely-watched summit, but both became markedly defensive when talking about Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.
Trump tweeted from Air Force One on Monday as he travelled back to the United States that he has "GREAT confidence" in his intelligence team but 'in order to build a brighter future, we can not exclusively focus on the past'. "As an American who remembers doing duck and cover drills in school and the terror of the Cold War, I was appalled to see our president call America's foreign policy "stupid" and 'foolish, ' and even more disturbed that he will not accept that Russian Federation launched a coordinated cyberattack on our country".
"We ran a brilliant campaign and that's why I'm president", Trump said, once again firmly denying allegations that Russian hacking and propaganda assisted him in his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton.
"On the world stage, in front of the entire globe, the president of the United States essentially capitulated and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin", Clapper told CNN.
Putin "felt very strongly about it and has an interesting idea", Trump said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted back: "We agree".
Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are meeting in Helsinki.
The press conference occurred after Putin and Trump held a meeting in which they were joined only by translators. After Trump concluded his remarks, American reporters shouted several questions about whether he would bring up election meddling during his discussions with Putin.
The long-awaited summit was overshadowed by the U.S. president blaming his own country's past "foolishness and stupidity" for the two powers' hostile ties. Trump's statements were a stunning development, given that the top intelligence agencies in the United States including the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency have all said they believe Russian Federation meddled in the election.
Sam Husseini insists the placard he held was an attempt to gain attention from the two world leaders.
The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russian Federation, making it highly doubtful the Kremlin would ever voluntarily send over the defendants to be prosecuted in an American court.
In Helsinki, Putin was asked if he favored Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
And the president went on to blame both Russian Federation and the United States for rising tensions between the two countries regarding charges of election meddling.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry said, "The US-Russia relationship faces many challenges".
The summit caps a trip overseas during which Trump sternly criticized North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies for failing to spend enough on their militaries and embarrassed British Prime Minister Theresa May by saying she refused to take his advice about how to negotiate the UK's exit from the EU.