Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Donald Trump hits back at 'haters' over summit with Vladimir Putin

Donald Trump hits back at 'haters' over summit with Vladimir Putin

After Donald Trump's weird "summit" meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, it wasn't only United States and Europan media who were left wondering if Trump was somehow being controlled by Putin - the Russian government's own state-run television network ran programming on which commentators were stunned by Trump's performance at a press conference following a private meeting with Putin, according to Julia Davis, an expert on Russian media who regularly views and translates Russian state TV broadcasts.

At the joint press conference following Mr Trump and Mr Putin's two-hour closed-door meeting in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, Lemire bluntly asked the United States president whether he believed the Russian dictator over his own USA intelligence officials.

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018.

Trump was fiercely criticized for his comments in Helsinki on Monday, and several top congressional Republicans and conservative media commentators condemned his remarks. On Tuesday Trump said he had misspoken and that he had complete faith in USA intelligence agencies and accepted their conclusions. "But I think on the foreign policy piece, there's significant concerns and have been, and you're finally seeing people speak out forcefully".

"I don't even want to use the word 'adversary, '" he said. Also, Trump no longer was speaking truth to power alongside Russia's President Vladimir Putin, but addressing reporters from the White House alongside Republican lawmakers.

"Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along", said Trump on Twitter.

After his remarks, the White House released a fact sheet on how the USA is "standing up to Russia's malign activities", a clear bid to counter the notion that Trump had been soft on Putin. "I was really glad to see [members] on both sides of the aisle condemning what happened", he said, adding he has supported much of Trump's domestic agenda.

The blowback for Helsinki was so fierce that Trump issued a uniquely rare walk-back, saying he meant to use a double negative and indicate Russian Federation would be responsible for the election hacking. Yet in a sign that he cannot fully accept those findings - seeing them as a challenge to his legitimacy - he added that it "could be other people also".

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan called Russia's government "menacing" and said they could consider additional sanctions on Russian Federation. But despite all of Trump's many inaccuracies, he's right about one thing: America and Russian Federation are by far the world's greatest nuclear powers. "Every American should be", Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said.

"He's held aloft by his base for now, but the base alone is not sufficient and I think we're in for a rough ride this fall."

"A lot of them privately and publicly used a muscle that had atrophied and they criticised the President", he told ABC Radio's PM.

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