Putin summit: United States president under fire over poll meddling comments

Russia's President Vladimir Putin listens while US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at Finland's Presidential Palace

Speaking to Fox News following his summit on Monday with Trump in Helsinki, Finland, the Russian president said: "Do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?"

Republican Senator John McCain said it was a "disgraceful performance". The auto that then whizzed Mr Putin through Helsinki's blocked-off streets also symbolised the rising global prestige that Mr Putin has cast himself as bestowing upon Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Helsinki nearly an hour late, tossed off his jacket while still on the tarmac and climbed into a new Russian-made limousine on its first foreign tour.

"Frankly, we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years", Trump said. "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today".

House Speaker Paul Ryan weighed in to say there's "no question" that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election and "no moral equivalence" between the U.S. and Russian Federation. "I don't see any reason why it would be", he replied.

The closely-watched summit is not the first time the Russian and United States presidents have held talks. However, that changed as of about four hours ago.

What has U.S. reaction been?

Toomey said in the statement that if Putin objects to the indicted hackers being brought to justice, the United States should impose new sanctions on Russian Federation.

Fox Business' Neil Cavuto called the presser "disgusting", saying he wanted to see a forceful condemnation of Russia's interference from Trump.

"No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant".

Another senior Republican, Sen Lindsey Graham, also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted that it was a "missed opportunity.to firmly hold Russian Federation accountable for 2016 meddling". The Russian leader did not say what actions, if any, he took to support Trump.

Coats added that Russian Federation remains behind "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".

"It was nothing short of treasonous", John O Brennan, a former Central Intelligence Agency director fired by Trump in 2017, said in a tweet.

Putin, meanwhile, when asked directly, didn't deny having compromising material on Trump or his family. Republican patriots: "Where are you?" 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.

As he has done with many other foreign leaders, Mr Putin kept Mr Trump waiting, landing about an hour after his scheduled arrival time.

He made it clear that, in return, Russian Federation would want similar access to people in the U.S. it suspects of criminal activity.

"(Spy chief) Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russian Federation. Since then, he has become a vocal critic and activist, working to sound the alarm across Europe and the U.S about Russia's deceptive and malignant political strategies.

European allies are uneasy. Russian Federation was listed as a "foe in certain respects".

Coats' statement was seen as an uncommonly brusque pushback by the United States intelligence community against the White House.

Trump said in the CBS interview that he "hadn't thought about" asking Putin to extradite the indicted agents.

"As I said today and many times before, 'I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.' However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we can not exclusively focus on the past - as the world's two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!" he said in a tweet following the meeting.

Russia's 2014 annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine boosted Putin's approval ratings to nearly 90 percent.



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