Coats Releases Statement Reaffirming Russia Meddled in 2016 Election

Clay Curtis
July 19, 2018

Trump, speaking in Helsinki after his first summit with Putin, said he saw no reason to believe his own country's intelligence agencies over the Kremlin leader's assurances that Russian Federation did not interfere in the USA election.

Mr Trump stunned United States 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.

Addressing Mr Trump, President Putin said at the beginning of the talks: "Mr President, I am delighted to meet with you here, in Helsinki, the capital of hospitable Finland. We made the same case when I was in Moscow a couple weeks ago". "And I think I can speak on behalf of Russian Federation when I say that, also".

Trump's performance in Helsinki raised the ire of a number of republicans from both houses of Congress.

The fresh indictments had prompted a number of USA senators, all but one of them Democrats, to request Trump cancel his summit with Putin.

"President Putin, he just said it's not Russian Federation".

And just a couple of minutes ago, he was talking about the fact that he really supports US intelligence agencies, but that he again has this equation with Russian Federation, who's denying that they had anything to do with this election interference.

On his way home, Trump insisted in a post on Twitter that he has "GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people". Trump also said he saw no reason why Putin would want to tamper with the 2016 election, trying to debunk the conclusion drawn by his entire intel community. "This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves". Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday.

Trump sets expectations low for Helsinki summit with Putin
Assessing the Putin meeting, Trump said: "Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out". Russian Federation has no extradition treaty with the United States, however.

Special counsel Robert Mueller shed light on that question last week with an indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence officers, alleging a sweeping conspiracy to interfere in the election.

"We're all to blame", Trump said. "I think we really had a potential problem".

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump's defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the USA and his suggestion of moral equivalence between the US and Russian Federation.

Top Wisconsin Republicans took different views on Monday, July 16 after Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted that his country had not meddled in the 2016 election.

In a tweet, former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan described the President's performance in the press conference as "nothing short of treasonous", and his comments as "imbecilic".

Several Republican lawmakers also weighed in.

"Patriots need to stand up and reject the behavior of this president".

That is contrary to what US intelligence agencies are telling Trump.

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