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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) expressed his “disappointment” after the Trump-Putin presser Monday, saying that President Donald Trump made America look like a “pushover.”

“I just felt like the President’s comments made us look as a nation more like a pushover. I was disappointed in that,” he told reporters. “When he had the opportunity to defend our intelligence agencies, who work for him, I was very disappointed and saddened with the equivalency he gave between them and what Putin was saying.”

He went on to point out how the press conference represents a pattern of Trump behavior.

“Sometimes the President cares more about how a leader treats him personally than forcefully getting out there and pushing against things that we know have harmed our nation,” Corker said. “I thought that’s what we all experienced today.”

He continued to say that Putin gained a “tremendous amount” from Trump’s clear approval, and that it would help Russia rebound from being “ostracized.” He added that Putin is probably “having caviar right now.”

Corker, who has criticized Trump enough to earn a nickname, is not running for reelection in 2018.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued a statement on Monday forcefully combatting statements President Donald Trump made standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, when Trump claimed he didn’t “see any reason why it would be [Russia]” that meddled in the 2016 election after Putin said the country did not.

Ryan said there was “no question” that Russia interfered in the election and urged Trump to “appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”

“There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”

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President Trump had multiple opportunities Monday to condemn President Vladimir Putin for Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Instead, at a press conference after his highly anticipated summit with Putin, Trump took a number of shots at the law enforcement officials investigating his campaign and even at his own intelligence agencies, which have concluded that Russia was behind the effort.

He dredged up from the hard right fever swamps debunked myths seeking to blame Democrats for the hacking of their own networks, and reiterated wild-eyed claims about his 2016 opponent,  Hillary Clinton.

He said that “we’re all” to blame for tensions with Russia, and said that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation specifically was having a “negative” impact on the U.S.-Russia relationship.

Here are the five most bonkers moments from the 30-minute press conference.

Trump: “Mueller’s probe is a disaster for our country.”

Asked to name actions taken by Russia that have damaged its relationship with the United States, Trump dodged by saying “we’re all to blame” and then turned his ire on Mueller’s investigation.

I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated,” Trump said. There was no collusion, at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore. So far that I know virtually none of it related to the campaign.”

He claimed to run a “clean campaign” and bragged about beating Clinton “easily.”

But the main thing, and we discussed this also, is zero collusion, and it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world,” Trump said, adding that it was “ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.”


Will Russia extradite the 12 Russians Mueller accused Friday of hacking?

Trump deferred to Putin a question about extraditing the 12 Russian military intelligence officers named in a Friday indictment for the alleged 2016 hacking of Democrats, while accusing Democrats of using the “collusion” allegations to explain why they lost to Trump.

Putin, meanwhile, said he will “look into” the indictment and brought up a treaty between the two countries on dealing with criminal cases.

“We can offer that the appropriate commission headed by special attorney Mueller, he can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal, an official request to us so that we would interrogate, hold the questioning of these individuals whom he believes are privy to some crimes,” Putin said, going on to offer that he’d even permit Mueller’s team to come to Russia to be present for the questioning.

Putin said, however, that Russia would impose “another condition,” so that it was a “mutual” effort.

“We would expect that the Americans would reciprocate and they would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence service of the United States, whom we believe are—who have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia,” Putin said, citing specifically allegations about Bill Browder, a Putin critic who led a campaign to impose sanctions on Russian individuals.

Trump: Putin offered ‘strong’ denial of 2016 meddling

Trump was asked to pick a side, between Putin’s denials of election meddling and the conclusion of U.S. intel and law enforcement officials — many of them Trump appointees — that Russia was behind the interference efforts.

“[Director of National Intelligence] , Dan Coats came to me and some others. They said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Most of his answer to the question was consumed with conspiracy theories about the FBI’s response in 2016 to the hacking of Democratic networks, and “missing” Clinton emails and DNC servers.

I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said. “And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer. “

Putin on Trump 2013’s trip fueling pee-tape rumors: “I didn’t even know that he was in Moscow”

Putin on multiple occasions made troll-y remarks about the allegations that Russia had dirt on Trump.

“I was an intelligence officer myself. And I do know how dossiers are made up,” Putin said, apparently referencing the dossier assembled by an ex-British spy alleging, among other things, that the Kremlin has a videotape of women peeing on a Moscow hotel bed in Trump’s presence.

Putin was asked specifically to confirm or deny that the Russian government had “compromising material” on Trump and his family. He laughed when the question was translated for him.

Putin danced around the question, claiming he did not know that Trump was in Moscow, a reference to the 2013 Miss Universe trip, when the alleged tape was filmed.

(Trump wrote Putin a letter then personally inviting him to the Miss Universe pageant. Trump would later claim to have been in contact with Putin about the trip.)

Putin then spoke more generally about the idea that he’d try to collect compromising material on “high-level” U.S. businessmen visiting his country, such as the 500 businessmen Putin said visited St. Petersburg for an economic forum.

“It’s difficult to imagine an utter nonsense of a bigger scale than this,”  Putin said. “Please, just disregard these issues and don’t think about this anymore again.”

Trump takes one last swipe at that “total witch hunt”

Trump couldn’t let the press conference end without taking one last shot at the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian election meddling. Unprompted, he brought up last week’s appearance in front of a congressional committee of an FBI agent who sent anti-Trump texts during the 2016 campaign.

“It was a disgrace to the FBI. It was a disgrace to our country. And you would say that was a total witch hunt,” Trump said, in his final remarks to the reporters.

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Joining her colleague and Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto, Fox News host Abby Huntsman voiced a rebuke of President Donald Trump Monday after his refusal to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russian election hacking.

Cavuto called Trump’s performance “disgusting” and part of a presser that “set us back.”

The dissension from both hosts is notable, as Trump sat down with their colleagues Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson for exclusive interviews Monday. In addition, Huntsman is the daughter of Jon Huntsman, the current U.S. ambassador to Russia.

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President Trump today said that Russian President Vladimir Putin denied meddling in the 2016 U.S. election — and said that he found that denial persuasive.

“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said.

This is a familiar script.

Trump has met with Putin twice before, and after both meetings, had similar comments — Putin said he didn’t do it, and Trump believed him.

July 2017

The two presidents’ first meeting occurred during the G-20 summit last year in Germany. According to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump “opened his meeting with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

“They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject. The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement,” Tillerson said.

But Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in a separate press conference, cast some doubt on how “robust and lengthy” that exchange was — and said Trump “accepts” Putin statements that Russia did not meddle in the election.

“President Trump said he’s heard Putin’s very clear statements that this is not true and that the Russian government didn’t interfere in the elections and that he accepts these statements,” Lavrov said, according to a translation by CNN. “That’s all.”

Trump went on to have further, undisclosed conversations with Putin during the G-20, and, a few days later, tweeted that the two leaders were considering teaming up to form “an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded and safe.”

November 2017

Trump and Putin did not have a formal meeting during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam last year, but the two did speak on the sidelines of the summit three times.

After the summit, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he had raised the issue of election meddling with Putin. “He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump said.

“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,'” he continued. “And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”

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After the shocking Trump-Putin presser when President Donald Trump refused to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Russians indicted for election meddling, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) tweeted his support for U.S. intelligence agencies and need to protect our elections.

Hatch is not seeking reelection in 2018.

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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper joined the chorus of lawmakers, U.S. officials and former intelligence operatives who were dumbfounded by President Donald Trump’s performance during a presser with Putin.

Clapper said Trump’s meek behavior was “amazing and very, very disturbing.”

“You know, like everyone else, I’m struggling with some way to capture or describe what we just witnessed. It is truly unbelievable,” he told CNN Monday. “On the world stage in front of the entire globe, the President of the United States essentially capitulated and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin. So it was amazing and very, very disturbing.”

“He just is very reticent about direct personal confrontation,” he continued. “So just as he did in the UK with Theresa May, bad mouth her in an interview, but yet when faced with a personal confrontation, a personal engagement, he won’t do it. It’s even worse when it’s our arch adversary, Russia, and his opposite person, Vladimir Putin. … While he likes to project the image of being a tough guy, he really isn’t.”

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said Monday that it was “fair” for President Donald Trump “to cast doubt” on the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election while Trump stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a joint press conference Monday.

Referencing FBI agent Peter Strzok’s recent congressional testimony, and the “downgrading of Hillary Clinton’s criminal activity,” Issa said “for the President to cast doubt is not unreasonable.”

At the same time, he said, “we take those charges seriously, and so I personally would neither rule in nor rule out the validity of a very interesting and odd-timed indictment of people who can never be brought to justice, and for whom there’s even a question of, how do we know? Did we use spy technique in order to find out? Did we hack them in order to find out who they were?”

Issa called Putin “evil” and Russia an “adverse entity to the United States.”

“We don’t extradite our spies,” Issa said, asked if he was upset Trump didn’t ask Putin to hand over the 12 Russian intelligence officers recently charged in the course of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. “And vice versa,” he added.

“At the same time,” he said, “I want to see the information in those indictments go forward.”

“Let’s flesh this out and see if it’s real,” he added.

Watch below via CNN:

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During his Fox Business Network show Monday, host Neil Cavuto called President Donald Trump’s failure to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Russian interference in the 2016 election “disgusting,” saying that the presser “set us back a lot.”

“That made it disgusting. That made his performance disgusting,” Cavuto said of Trump’s refusal to even criticize the Russian President. “Only way I feel. Not a right or left thing to me. It is wrong.”

“A U.S. President on foreign soil talking to our biggest enemy or adversary or competitor, I don’t know how we define them, essentially letting the guy get away with this, not even offering a mild, a mild criticism,” he continued. “That sets us back a lot.”

Cavuto’s criticism is especially notable as his colleagues Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have exclusive interviews with Trump about the summit Monday night.

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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (NE) issued a harsh retort to President Donald Trump’s unprecedented behavior during a presser with Vladimir Putin, countering Trump’s assertion that the U.S. is also to blame for the decline in relations with Russia and calling Trump’s comments “bizarre and flat-out wrong.”

“This is bizarre and flat-out wrong,” he said in a statement. “The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression. When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.”