Plenty of critics have hit President Trump for failing to put Vladimir Putin in his place today during their summit in Helsinki, Finland. It would have been good timing. Just a few days ago, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials for hacking into the DNC during the 2016 election. The U.S. intelligence community has insisted repeatedly that the Kremlin interfered. Yet, when asked today who he believes - Putin or U.S. intelligence officials - Trump said he believed the Russian president when he "strongly" said he was not involved.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi found herself wondering what the Russians have on Trump that is stopping him from publicly condemning their actions.
Every single day, I find myself asking: what do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically? The answer to that question is that only thing that explains his behavior & his refusal to stand up to Putin. #ABetterDeal— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) July 16, 2018
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed with his House colleague. Putin must be holding "damaging information" about President Trump, he suggested, adding that today's press conference was "appalling."
The harshest critiques, however, may be coming from members of his own party. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Trump's Helsinki display is "one of the most disgraceful performances in memory" by a U.S. president. Other Republicans reiterated that Russia is an adversary, plain and simple.
Whether it be chemical attacks on our allied soil, the invasion of Ukraine, propping up the murderer Assad in Syria, or meddling in our elections through cyber-attacks, Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains an adversary to the United States.— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) July 16, 2018
Foreign policy must be based on reality,not hyperbole or wishful thinking. And the reality is #Russia is an adversary. Because #Putin doesn’t believe in win/win scenarios & thinks only way to make Russia stronger is to make U.S. weaker. Any approach not based on this will fail.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 16, 2018