President’s Press Conference Draws Republican Criticism
The Helsinki meeting between President's Trump and Putin, and the resulting press conference has ignited some criticism from many in Congress who already disagreed with the President, but also from friendly Republicans as well.
Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney is among those who were troubled today by the joint press conference held by President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin following their talks in Helsinki.
She tweeted her response this morning. "As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security."
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso replied to K2 Radio News, “It’s abundantly clear that the United States cannot and should not trust Russia. This is why President Trump and Congress have taken important and tough steps – including sanctions, expelling Russian diplomats, and giving lethal arms to Ukraine. That said, I stand firmly behind the United States’ intelligence agencies that Russia did in fact interfere in our election. That interference should result in further consequences for President Putin and his regime.”
Sen. John McCain calls President Donald Trump's press conference "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."
The Arizona Republican says the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was "a tragic mistake."
The senator says Trump proved not only unable, "but unwilling to stand up to Putin." And he said Trump and Putin "seemed to be speaking from the same script" as Trump made a "conscious choice to defend a tyrant."
McCain, who has been away from the Senate as he battles brain cancer, said the damage inflicted by the President's "naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate."
A top Republican senator says President Donald Trump's refusal to condemn Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election makes the U.S. "look like a pushover" in dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says President Trump's performance at a summit with Putin was not "a good moment for our country. This was a very good day for President Putin."
Corker says there's no doubt Russia interfered in the election, adding that he was disappointed and saddened that Trump equated the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered and Putin's denial.
Corker said the President seems to care more "about how a leader treats him personally" than pushing back against Russia's meddling in the election.
Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted, "Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections. This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves."
Graham quipped that the President ought to check a soccer ball Putin gave him for listening devices, "and never allow it in the White House."
"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 Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. "This is shameful."
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., called it "bizarre" and "flat-out wrong" for Trump to suggest that both the U.S. and Russia are to blame for the deteriorated state of the two countries' relationship.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says there's "no question" that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and continues to try undermine democracy in the United States and around the world.
The Wisconsin Republican says the American intelligence community and the House Intelligence Committee agree that Russia interfered in the election. He adds: "The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally." Ryan says Russia "remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals."
The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy."
Ryan's comments came after President Trump said at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he sees no reason why Russia would interfere in the U.S. election.
The Kremlin has denied any state action in the election.
Yet while the President's remarks drew criticism in both parties, the reaction was more muted from the Republican side. Key GOP lawmakers at least initially refrained from directly attacking Trump's performance, and at least one echoed the president's criticism of the special counsel probe.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California he takes the charges filed by Mueller's team seriously, but added, "I personally would neither rule in nor rule out the validity of a very interesting and odd-timed indictment of people who can never be brought to justice."