Trump’s Putin Press Conference Just Made Republicans’ Lives Way Harder (HBO)

The president of Russia and the president of the United States holding a press conference is not unusual. Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all took questions with their Russians counterparts at some point in their presidencies.

What made President Trump and President Putin’s appearance Monday in Helsinki so unusual was the fact that, when asked about Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump seemed to side with Putin instead of the conclusions of 17 intelligence agencies, his own director of National Intelligence, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department.

And asked if he would denounce what happened in 2016 and warn Putin to never do it again, Trump, well, didn’t. Instead, he responded, “My people came to me, Dan Coats [the Director of National Intelligence] came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Coats later put out his own statement emphasizing Russia’s involvement.

“We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security,” Coats said.

Republicans back in America were also quick to distance themselves from Trumps remarks.

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