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Trump unfazed by GOP criticism, says Putin meeting was great

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Finland Monday

At their joint press conference in Helsinki, Mr. Trump said that while he had "great confidence" in the US intelligence community, he believed Mr. Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denial that Russian Federation meddled in the USA election.

Trump's top national security officials, Democrats and most Republicans in Congress say U.S. intelligence agencies got it right in finding that Russians secretly tried to sway the election.

"I think his base feels that it would have been rude and not productive to stand not six feet away from the president of Russian Federation and call him a liar", said Republican strategist Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser.

Richard Burr of North Carolina said his committee has no reason to doubt the intelligence community's "conclusion that President Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the 2016 elections".

Trump responded not by discussing Russian Federation but by claiming to hold "both countries responsible", before proceeding to double down on his accusations against the United States.

Chuck Hagel, a former senator and defense secretary, said that Trump "failed America" in the press conference.

If anything, Trump's obsequiousness toward Putin suggests a kind of envy at the Russian leader's ability to exercise violent state power unchecked.

There were mixed reactions on Fox News Channel, whose commentators usually represent Trump's biggest supporters.

"The United States must be focused on holding Russian Federation accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy". "Any statement by Vladimir Putin contrary to these facts is a lie and should be recognized as one by the President", Burr said. "President Trump missed opportunity to hold Putin publicly accountable". That Russia interfered is now well-documented in both a report by Republican lawmakers and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's recent indictment against Russian military intelligence operatives.

Brett Baier, who hosts Special Report, wondered how exactly the summit might improve U.S. interests and brought up the Republican lawmakers who were putting out statements against the summit, such as Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) and Jeff Flake (R-Arizona). "I don't see any reason why it would be", he added.

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At a press conference following the summit, Trump praised their "direct, open and deeply productive dialogue" and emphasised the need for continued diplomacy over confrontation. "I don't think we need to call Putin a liar".

Instead, Harden argued, Trump did exactly what Putin wanted.

Putin did come and by all accounts the result of his first full summit with Trump has been a hearty success for the Russian leader.

"Putin directed an attack on our American democracy & Russian Federation interfered with our elections", Baldwin tweeted.

Mr Putin said he and Mr Trump have maintained regular contact through phone calls and meetings at worldwide events, but "the time has come to have a thorough discussion on various global problems and sensitive issues".

Putin called on the United States to work together to resolve the Syrian conflict, saying "Russia and the US can take the lead on this issue in this country and work together to overcome the humanitarian crisis".

A lot of Trump-era polling, including the president's approval rating, has so far proven to be both notably stable and notably politicized.

As to what the summit may have produced in terms of nuclear disarmament, peace in the Korean Peninsula, resolving the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, or ratcheting down tensions in Europe... no one in the United States media seemed interested in asking.

Russia's foreign ministry responded to that by re-tweeting it with the comment "We agree".

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