By Igor Bobic, Huffington Post
Trump and Putin, at joint news conference at end of summit in Helsinki, Finland
President Donald Trump’s performance during a press conference after a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday left critics of all stripes howling.
Trump refused to blame Putin for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and told reporters that “both countries” were responsible for the poor state of their relations.
“I think we’ve all been foolish. I think we’re all to blame,” Trump said.
He reiterated that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia, slammed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the election as a “disaster” and shared conspiracy theories about why it’s important for the FBI to take the Democratic National Committee’s computer server.
Putin agreed with Trump on many points, and Trump’s comments drew fierce criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
John Brennan, a CIA director under Barack Obama, called Trump’s performance “treasonous”. In a tweet, Brennen said,
“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you ? “
Moments after the press conference, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said it was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader.”
On Fox Business Network, several guests reacted by saying that Putin
outmaneuvered Trump at the Summit. On the channel, the network’s Neil Cavuto termed Trump’s performance “disgusting.”
Ari Fleisher, President George W. Bush’s Press Secretary, who often justifies Trump’s statements indicated in a tweet that he understood how Democrats could feel that Putin and the Russians must have some damning information about him.
Meghan McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View” and a daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), tweeted that she was “horrified” by the press conference.
Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a Republican, said Trump
“failed America today.”“It’s a sad day for America,” Hagel said Monday during an appearance on CNN. “It’s a sad day for the world.”