Few Trump-Russia Stories Have Changed Americans' Minds. Will This One?

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

By "the past, he's presumably referencing 2016 when, Trump's intel leaders have all agreed, Russian Federation interfered with the USA presidential election, and also warned all signs are that Putin continues to meddle, and will continue to do to going forward into the midterm elections and beyond".

"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", tweeted Senator Jeff Flake.

"We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy", the director, Dan Coats, said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he did want Donald Trump to win the 2016 U.S. presidential election but took no action during the campaign to make it happen, adding he favoured the celebrity businessman because of his policies.

Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, followed by reports that the president disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials, did seem to move the needle, but the effect didn't show much staying power.

He made the untenable assertion that "I have confidence in both parties" - his intelligence officials, who say Moscow interfered, and Putin, who says it didn't.

"Coming close on the heels of President Trump's bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today's press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency".

Trump came under fire for his performance in the press conference, with critics on both sides of the political aisle slamming his handling of questions about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election. 'I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be'.

"I think that the probe is a disaster for our country", Trump said, standing next to Putin at Finland's presidential palace. I think that's an incredible offer'.

For his part, Trump criticised the ongoing USA investigation into the allegations as a "disaster".

Mueller's office has tried to serve summonses on the defendants demanding that they appear in court, but prosecutors say the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russian Federation declined to accept the summonses.

Mr. Putin also offered to work with the USA analyzing the cyber attacks.

Even before the meeting, most Americans disliked Putin, while saying they believed Trump took a more positive view of him.

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded by tweet: "We agree".

"As president I can not make decisions on foreign policy in an effort to appease partisan critics, or the media, or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct", Trump said during his gobsmacking presser that shot #TreasonSmmit to the top trending spot on Twitter internationally.

Schumer also urged the Senate to take up legislation to boost security for USA elections and to revive a measure passed earlier by the Judiciary Committee to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.

Democrats were, of course, also harsh in their reaction to the president.

"When he had the opportunity to defend our intelligence agencies who work for him, I was very disappointed and saddened with the equivalency that he gave between them and what Putin was saying", Mr Corker said.

He added cryptically that his Russian counterpart "has an interesting idea" about it.

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