Donald Trump nearly alone in view of Russian Federation meddling

Vladimir Putin

Trump "delivered us here with a display of cowardly self-interest", Cuomo said, but this ended up bringing people together. Interviewed by National Public Radio on Monday, he condemned Trump's statements in Helsinki and added that "mid-range officers come and ask me what do I tell my people, and that's a really telling question".

Of course, we will never know the full details of what was discussed in the two men's private meeting, unless Trump's translator spills the beans.

"This was not the plan", a U.S. official directly involved in planning the Helsinki summit between the leaders told CNN.

But the USA leader insisted that his counterpart had delivered a "powerful" denial of any Russian manipulation, and that the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller was proving a "disaster" for the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference with President Trump after their meeting in Helsinki on Monday.

The opportunity for Putin to present himself as an equal to the US president was a major objective for the Kremlin as it prepared for the summit, according to people close to the Russian foreign policy establishment.

Mr Trump said he has "great confidence" in his intelligence agencies who have concluded Russian Federation interfered in the election.

The witch hunt he refers to is the allegations of Russian meddling in the presidential elections which put Mr Trump in office.

Mr Putin said of the collusion claims that there is "no evidence when it comes to the actual facts".

Even the US, which guarantees freedom of press under the First Amendment, was only ranked 45th in the index, down two spots from a year ago.

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But the USA president said Mr Putin was "incredibly strong and powerful today" in his contention that Russian Federation had nothing to do with election interference.

"Having been twinned with Donald Trump by the media for a long time, Putin has now clearly made a decision to cast his lot with him", said Dmitry Trenin, a former colonel in the Russian army who is now director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a think tank.

So President Trump's comments have angered a lot of Americans. This was reportedly the first time in history a United States and Russian president have met alone. "I have President Putin - he just said it's not Russia", Trump said, adding that he does not "see any reason why it would be" Russia. I will say this.

In Helsinki, however, Trump was determined to accentuate the positive, as was Putin.

"That was a clean campaign, I beat Hillary Clinton easily", he said at another.

Mr Trump, when asked about a Russian gas pipeline to Germany, noted that the U.S. and Russia compete in the energy market. "Seriously, what does Putin have on Trump that's he's so afraid?"

Finnish papers declared Putin the clear "winner" of the summit, one with a scoreboard, another carrying the headline "Trump was my favourite" alongside a smiling Putin.

House Speaker Paul Ryan weighed in to say there was "no question" Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election and "no moral equivalence" between the USA and Russian Federation.

Chuck Hagel, a former senator and defense secretary, said that Trump "failed America" in the press conference. "We won that race and it's a shame that there can be even a little bit of a cloud over it", he said.

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