Putin summit elicits strong reactions from political leaders

Putin offered to help with the Russia investigation. Don't expect Mueller to take him up on

Donald Trump is an American patriot.

Comey's criticism comes amid a widespread outcry over President Trump's dismissal of Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election during a joint press conference with President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland.

There were indications of an arrangement to work together and with Israel to support a ceasefire in southern Syria, suggesting that the United States administration is backing off its demand that Moscow's ally Bashar al-Assad step down.

Asked about U.S. intelligence agencies' unanimous conclusion that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election, Putin smirked: "I was an intelligence officer myself, and I do know how dossiers are made up".

Minutes later, Trump would echo Putin in claiming, "I don't see any reason" Russian Federation would be behind the hacking of Democratic emails.

Trump stunned USA political allies and foes alike with his answer to a question about Russian hacking and interference in the 2016 election which saw him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. On Monday, officials said another Russian agent had been arrested for seeking to influence U.S. politics.

"As a major nuclear power, we have special responsibility when it comes to worldwide security".

Comey criticized GOP lawmakers in a tweet Tuesday evening for what the former law enforcement official views as a reluctance to oppose President Donald Trump's policies.

Mr Putin also dismissed longstanding reports that Russian intelligence may hold compromising material on Mr Trump.

"However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we can not exclusively focus on the past - as the world's two largest nuclear powers, we must get along".




At a news conference after the summit, he was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to allegations of meddling in the election.

"This is shameful", said Senator Jeff Flake, a fellow Republican and staunch critic of the president.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats distanced himself from his boss, issuing a statement saying the U.S. intelligence community's judgment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election was "clear".

Former CIA director John Brennan said Mr Trump's news conference "was nothing short of treasonous".

Still, Putin said he had indeed wanted Trump to win the election - a revelation that might have made more headlines if not for Trump's performance - but had taken no action to make it happen.

"Please get this rubbish out of your heads", the Russian leader said.

He said he meant to say he doesn't see why Russian Federation "wouldn't" be responsible for interference.

Bent on forging a personal bond with the Kremlin chief, Trump headed into the summit blaming the "stupidity" of his predecessors for plunging ties to their present low. Makes the United States "look like a pushover", said GOP Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. And it came at the end of an extraordinary trip to Europe in which Trump had already berated allies, questioned the value of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and demeaned leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel and Britain's Theresa May.

In Helsinki, however, Trump was determined to accentuate the positive, as was Putin.

The two leaders' long-awaited summit began with a private face-to-face sit down - just the leaders and their interpreters - that lasted more than two hours, before additional meetings joined by senior aides.

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