Helsinki: Standing side by side with Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump refuses to confront Putin, to blame the Russian leader for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, instead, casting doubt on the findings of his own intelligence agencies and sparking a storm of criticism at home.
Although he faced pressure from critics, allied countries and even his own staff to take a tough line, Trump spoke not a single disparaging word in public about Moscow on any of the issues that have brought relations between the two powers to the lowest ebb since the Cold War.
Instead, he denounced the “stupidity” of his own country’s policies, especially the decision to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Just three days ago, the U.S. Justice Department announced an indictment of 12 Russian spies for hacking into Democratic Party computer networks.
Trump’s performance at a joint news conference with Putin in Helsinki stirred a wave of condemnation in the United States, including criticism from within his own Republican Party. The White House has struggled for months to dispel suggestions that Trump was unwilling to stand up to Russia.
Asked if he believed U.S. intelligence agencies, which concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in an effort to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump said he was not convinced it was Moscow.