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Donald Trump nearly alone in view of Russian Federation meddling

17 Juillet 2018

President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen tweeted his support for U.S. intelligence agencies and berated Russian Federation on Monday in a clear rebuke of his old boss's Helsinki press performance.

Mr Trump told the press conference that the United States and Russian Federation must find ways to "co-operate in pursuit of shared interests". Trump set no condition, saying: "If we can do something to help the people of Syria get back into some form of shelter and on a humanitarian basis".

After their private meeting, Trump and Putin held a joint press conference.

"Mr. President, welcome to the land of free press", one of the billboards reads, while another says, "Trump calls media enemy of the people".

The war hero and former Republican presidential nominee, a frequent critic of the president, said Trump "failed to defend all that makes us who we are - a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and overseas".

"The former Governor of California said: "'President Trump, I just saw your press conference with Putin and it was embarrassing. And I really think the world wants to see us get along.

The American president said it is a "shame" there is a cloud over his administration, but said he ran a "brilliant campaign and that's why I'm president".

A post-summit news conference in Helsinki with Trump and Putin was "everything the Kremlin realistically could have hoped for", said Mark Galeotti, a Russian Federation scholar at the Institute of International Relations Prague. He added that they "spent a great deal of time talking about it".

The two leaders began their highly anticipated meeting with a 90-minute one-on-one session, with only their respective translators in attendance.

Mr Trump contradicted United States investigators - who believe Russian hackers interfered in the 2016 presidential election - and said there was no reason for Moscow to meddle in the vote. Standing next to his Russian counterpart, Trump openly questioned his own intelligence agencies' conclusions that Moscow was to blame for meddling in the election to Trump's benefit and seemed to accept Putin's insistence that Russia's hands were clean. He then showed clips of reporters criticizing Trump's comments.

So far, no evidence has been presented by the special counsel's office to suggest this was the case (Mr Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn was charged with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation; former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort with tax fraud, money laundering and illegal lobbying).

It's for that reason that since the 2016 campaign Trump has forcefully rejected any suggestion of Russian support for his candidacy. At one point, he shot Putin a wink.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the Russians "were relentless in their efforts to meddle in the 2016 elections, and their efforts are ongoing".

Trump's openness to the symbolic offer appeared to cede the high ground to Putin. The drama was playing out against a backdrop of fraying Western alliances, a new peak in the Russian Federation investigation and fears that Moscow's aggression may go unchallenged.

"Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse", Trump tweeted Monday morning, blaming "many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" The absence of an agreed statement leaves secret the status and extent of any practical agreements reached either between the U.S. president and his Russian counterpart or in the later wider meeting between officials. In a combative interview with Fox News, host Chris Wallace pressed Putin about whether the Russians possessed dirt on Trump.

"Why Won't Donald Trump Speak for America?"

"This was a very good day for President Putin", said Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat, weighed in after the summit.

Donald Trump nearly alone in view of Russian Federation meddling