The Trump-Putin Summit is over…...
By: Talia Scott
Earlier today, President Trump and Russian President Putin held a joint news conference on neutral ground in Helsinki, Finland.
The anticipated summit was supposed to improve U.S. relations with Russia which President Trump believes suffered under President Obama. However, the summit sparked bipartisan ire and frustration after Trump failed to side with the U.S. intelligence community over Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. In what he called the "proud tradition of bold American diplomacy,” many Americans leaders saw as shameful and as an attack on democracy.
U.S. intelligence officials are in agreement that Russia interfered in the 2016 election using a wide array of methods, including but not limited to hacking the Democratic National Committee's emails, breaking into American voting infrastructure and launching a sprawling misinformation campaign. However, President Putin denied Moscow’s interference in the election and Trump appeared to side with him, frustrating members of both parties. This comes just days after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 12 Russian intelligence agents on election-related charges. After last week's indictments, congressional Democrats had urged Trump to cancel the summit with Putin or at least not to meet privately with the Russian leader with no advisers present. Trump ignored those warnings and had a one-on-one meeting with Putin today that lasted almost two hours.
"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. "Dan Coats [the Director of National Intelligence] came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russia. 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."
In today's press conference, Trump showed that he would not take a hard stance on Russia and marked the meeting as a good start. “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now,” Trump said as he stood alongside Putin at the summit’s conclusion. “However, that changed as of about four hours ago.”
It seems as if Trump plans to improve relations with the world’s second-ranked nuclear power at the expense of his country and its intelligence.