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1. The following are excerpts from Dartunorro Clark's July 17, 2018 news report headlined "'Shameful,' 'treasonous,' 'disgraceful': Trump slammed from all sides for news conference with Putin" at nbcnewsdotcom.|
President Donald Trump was swiftly rebuked by lawmakers, TV anchors and pundits across the political spectrum Monday after his joint news conference in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has criticized the president's posture toward Russia in the past, called it "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."
The summit, which took place between Trump and Putin at Finland's presidential palace Monday in Helsinki, was a "tragic mistake," McCain said. But dismissing the news conference that followed as a "pathetic rout" of a political novice is too generous, he added.
"President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world," McCain said.
Former CIA director John Brennan, a frequent Trump critic and an national security analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, called Trump's performance "nothing short of treasonous."
Trump met with Putin one-on-one for more than two hours and in a session with aides present. In the joint appearance after their summit, Trump downplayed the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Moscow mounted an effort to help him win the presidency in 2016, blasted the American news media, bashed the FBI and the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling, and suggested that Putin was more credible than his own director of national intelligence, who has accused Russia of mounting an "unprecedented influence campaign" in 2016.
"[Putin] just said it's not Russia," Trump said. "I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be."
His remarks were met with an outpouring of condemnation from Republicans, Democrats, and even Fox TV hosts, who accused the president of undermining his country's intelligence community while embracing an adversary...
Retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent critic of the president, said Trump was wrong to hold the U.S. partly responsible for the deterioration of the relationship between the two countries.
"I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful," Flake said....
Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate now running for U.S. Senate in Utah, called Trump's "decision to side with Putin" over the conclusions of American intelligence agencies "disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles."...
Guy Benson, a conservative Fox News contributor, called Monday "easily one of his worst days as president."....
Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by Trump last year, said Trump declined to support his own country.
"This was the day an American president stood on foreign soil next to a murderous lying thug and refused to back his own country," Comey tweeted. "Patriots need to stand up and reject the behavior of this president."
Former Vice President Joe Biden pilloried the president for his embrace of Putin after attacking U.S. allies during his European trip last week.
"Today our President had the chance to confront an adversary who has attacked — and continues to attack — our democracy and our allies. He could have stood up for American interests and values. He chose not to," Biden said. "Today’s press conference was beneath the dignity of the Office of the President."
Trump's performance was "the most astonishing display of weakness and submission that I have ever seen from an American President," Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., said in a statement.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, called the president’s remarks "cowardly and shameful" in a tweet and suggested Trump's actions will invite more Russian meddling in the midterms.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Trump's performance an embarrassment. She also suggested, without evidence, the Russians may have damaging information about the president.
“President Trump's weakness in front of Putin was embarrassing, and proves that the Russians have something on the President, personally, financially or politically," she said in a statement.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Trump's unwillingness to push back against Putin more strongly "thoughtless, dangerous and weak."
"The president is putting himself over our country," he said. "Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump." (End excerpts)
2. The following are excerpts from Alex Ward's July 16, 2018 news report headlined "Paul Ryan: 'The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally'" at voxdotcom.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has issued a statement slamming President Donald Trump’s refusal to admit that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election during his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday....
That’s the most powerful Republican in the House condemning a president of his own party....
But it seems Trump’s shocking performance in Helsinki was beyond the pale for Ryan.
During the 50-minute press conference, Trump sided with Putin instead of America’s intelligence agents about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election; failed to mention Russian transgressions like its invasion of Ukraine or its attempted assassination via toxic nerve agent of a former spy on British soil; and called Putin’s proposal to send Russians to help Mueller investigate Russian meddling an “incredible offer.”...
Still, the person who is third in line to become president publicly rebuked the commander in chief — while Trump is overseas, no less. If there was ever an indicator to show just how badly Trump messed up in Helsinki on Monday, this is it.
You can read Ryan’s full statement below:
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. (End excerpts)