Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Putin’

James Comey Calls For “Patriots” To “Reject the behavior of this president.”

July 17, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey lambasted President Donald Trump Monday for reportedly siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence services during a joint press conference in Helsinki.

“This was the day an American president stood on foreign soil next to a murderous lying thug and refused to back his own country,” Comey wrote on Twitter.

Image result for James Comey, photos

“Patriots need to stand up and reject the behavior of this president,” Comey, continued.

James Comey

@Comey

This was the day an American president stood on foreign soil next to a murderous lying thug and refused to back his own country. Patriots need to stand up and reject the behavior of this president.

Trump faced backlash following the press conference with Putin after he criticized the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election. (RELATED: Comey Calls For Stricter Gun Regulations, Accuses NRA Of Lying To America)

“The probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all — Everybody knows it,” Trump said during the conference.

“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,” Trump added.

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http://dailycaller.com/2018/07/16/comey-trump-patriots-reject-tweet/

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Michael Cohen trolls Trump over Russia summit

July 17, 2018

President Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen tweeted his support for US intelligence agencies and berated Russia on Monday in a clear rebuke of his old boss’s Helsinki press performance.

“As I said to @ABC @GStephanopoulos, ‘I respect our nation’s intelligence agencies who determined that Russia, had in fact, interfered or meddled in our democratic process,’” Cohen tweeted on Monday evening.

“I repudiate Russia’s effort…and call on all Americans to do the same.”

Cohen, who has given an interview to George Stephanopoulos, did not mention Trump in his tweet.

But Cohen’s commentary came just hours after Trump sided with Russian president Vladimir Putin during a joint press conference in Helsinki.

“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,” Trump said at the presser.

Cohen is currently under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York and had his home and office raided in April.

The lawyer’s recent statements have caused some to speculate he may be cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 election.

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https://nypost.com/2018/07/16/michael-cohen-trolls-trump-over-russia-summit/

At summit, Trump refuses to confront Putin on vote row

July 17, 2018

 President Donald Trump refused to confront Vladimir Putin over meddling in the US election at their first face to face summit, publicly challenging the findings of the US intelligence community and triggering bipartisan outrage at home.

The US and Russian presidents came out of their meeting in Helsinki Monday expressing desire for a fresh start between the world’s leading nuclear powers and more talk on global challenges, after discussing an array of issues from Syria, Ukraine and China to trade tariffs and the size of their nuclear arsenals.

There were indications of an arrangement to work together and with Israel to support a ceasefire in southern Syria, suggesting that the US administration is backing off its demand that Moscow’s ally Bashar al-Assad step down.

If that is anathema to many in Washington, Trump’s apparent concessions to Putin over the election controversy drew stinging condemnation from across the political divide.

Standing alongside the Kremlin boss at a joint news conference, Trump acknowledged that his intelligence chiefs believe Russia hacked and leaked Democrats’ emails containing politically damaging information about his rival Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But, insisting he had won the race fair and square, the wealthy property tycoon said: “I have President Putin, he just said it is not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Friday’s US indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence agents exploded with embarrassing timing for Trump as he prepared to meet Putin. On Monday, officials said another Russian agent had been arrested for seeking to influence US politics.

But the US leader insisted that his counterpart had delivered a “powerful” denial of any Russian manipulation, and that the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller was proving a “disaster” for the United States.

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In his own interview with Fox, Trump said he was “fascinated” by an offer from Putin for US agents to indirectly grill the indicted Russians by submitting their questions to Russian officials but said Mueller’s team “probably won’t want to go” to Moscow.

– ‘Never interfered’ –

Trump again denied any collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, while Putin insisted: “The Russian state has never interfered and is not planning to interfere in the USA’s internal affairs.”

As criticism mounted, Trump tweeted from Air Force One on his way home from Finland that he had “GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people”.

“However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past  as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along.”

Angry criticism of his disavowal of his own intelligence agencies came even from within Trump’s Republican Party.

Senior Republican Senator John McCain was particularly scathing, saying: “Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American presidency.”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats distanced himself from his boss, issuing a statement saying the US intelligence community’s judgment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election was “clear”.

But the top Democrat in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer, tweeted that many Americans can only wonder if “the only possible explanation for this dangerous behaviour is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump.”

And former CIA director John Brennan said Trump’s behavior at the news conference “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous.”

Putin denied the notion that Russian spy bosses may hold compromising information on Trump, who in his previous business career oversaw the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.

“Please get this rubbish out of your heads,” the Russian leader said.

In a post-summit interview with Fox News, Putin said US-Russia relations should not be held “hostage” to “internal political games,” referring to the Mueller probe.

The two leaders appeared relaxed at the Helsinki news conference, smiling on occasion, in contrast to their sombre demeanour at the start of the day.

Trump, bent on forging a personal bond with the Kremlin chief despite the election allegations, went into the summit blaming the “stupidity” of his predecessors for plunging ties to their present low.

His manner towards Putin was also a contrast to the anger Trump flashed at NATO allies at a combative summit of the alliance in Brussels last week, which critics said would only hearten Putin.

– ‘Only the beginning’ –

A post-NATO trip to Britain, supposedly America’s partner in a “special relationship”, was riddled with controversy as well.

In Helsinki, however, Trump was determined to accentuate the positive, as was Putin.

The two leaders met one-on-one for more than two hours, with just their interpreters present, before they were joined by their national security teams.

Many in Washington were agog at Trump’s decision to sit alone with Putin, worried about what he might give away to the former KGB spymaster, after previously cosying up to the autocratic leaders of China and North Korea.

But Trump, convinced his unique brand of diplomacy can win over Putin, pressed ahead and looked forward to “having an extraordinary relationship” as the pair sat down to discuss global hotspots.

– ‘Foolishness and stupidity’ –

Trump began the day by firing a Twitter broadside at his domestic opponents, blaming the diplomatic chill on the election investigation.

“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted.

Russia’s foreign ministry tweeted in response: “We agree.”

In a weekend interview with CBS News, Trump admitted that Russia remains a foe, but he put Moscow on a par with China and the European Union as economic and diplomatic rivals.

AFP

Pelosi, Schumer: Trump’s news conference suggests Putin has something on him

July 16, 2018

The top two Democrats in Congress suggested Monday that President Trump’s performance during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin signaled that Russia has damaging information on the U.S. leader.

“President Trump’s weakness in front of Putin was embarrassing, and proves that the Russians have something on the president, personally, financially or politically,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “This is a sad day for America, and for all Western democracies that Putin continues to target.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) was less direct but raised the same prospect in a statement issued shortly after Trump and Putin concluded a remarkable news conference in Helsinki at the end of a summit that both said included discussion of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential election.

“A single, ominous question now hangs over the White House: What could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russia over those of the United States?” Schumer said in a statement. “Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump.”

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Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), speaks at a news conference in March. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

During the news conference, Putin again denied any election interference, and Trump cast doubt on the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies to the contrary.

“I don’t see any reason why” Russia would interfere in the election, Trump told reporters, also characterizing the probe by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as “a disaster for our country.”

Asked whether the Russian government has compromising material on Trump, Putin said he was aware of “rumors” that such material was collected during a 2013 visit by Trump to Moscow but that it was “difficult to imagine” that had occurred.

“When President Trump was at Moscow back then, I didn’t even know that he was in Moscow,” Putin said. “I treat President Trump with utmost respect, but back then when he was a private individual, a businessman, nobody informed me that he was in Moscow.”

Trump’s 2013 visit came in conjunction with the Miss Universe pageant, which he owned. A dossier compiled by a former British spy contains salacious allegations about Trump’s behavior on the trip, which Trump has denied.

At a news conference later Thursday, Schumer elaborated on his statement and called on Republicans to stand up to Trump.

“Where are the Republicans who know in their heart the president is giving away the store to Vladimir Putin?” Schumer said on Capitol Hill. “The best people to check him are not Democrats but his fellow Republicans.”

Schumer called on those in the GOP to do four things: ratchet up sanctions against Russia; end their attacks on the FBI, Justice Department and Mueller; invite Trump’s national security team to testify before Congress about preparations for the summit with Putin; and push the president to call on Putin to extradite the 12 military intelligence officers were indicted last week on charges they hacked Democrats’ computers, stole their data and published those files to disrupt the 2016 election.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pelosi-schumer-trumps-news-conference-suggests-putin-has-something-on-him/2018/07/16/a83a7fba-891a-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.36a54a96452c

McCain: Trump performance ‘disgraceful’

July 16, 2018

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki “a tragic mistake” and faulted President Trump for “naiveté” and “egotism” in meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He also labeled Trump’s press conference with Putin as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

McCain, a frequent critic of Trump’s who has often blasted the president for not being tougher with Russia, criticized him for failing to believe the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election over Putin’s denial.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,” McCain said in a statement.

“He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world,” McCain added.

McCain said watching Trump’s press conference with Putin was especially “painful” after Trump criticized longtime NATO ally Germany as “totally controlled by Russia.”

“Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American presidency,” he said.

McCain has long voiced confidence in Trump’s national security team, which he praised Monday as “competent and patriotic,” and said he found it “inexplicable” how they allowed the president’s “blunders and capitulations” to happen.

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” McCain lamented.

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http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/397245-mccain-trump-performance-disgraceful

U.S. president bested in Helsinki by Putin

July 16, 2018

Trump and Putin’s love-in: U.S. president calls Russian leader’s denial of election meddling ‘very powerful’ then rants about Hillary’s emails and his own victory – and Putin says he wanted Trump to win and laughs about the golden showers dossier

  • President Trump is in Helsinki, Finland for a summit with Vladimir Putin
  • The two men met in private for two hours
  • Putin was late to the summit, as well, pushing it back by an hour right after the bat 
  • Putin denied ‘so-called’ election interference happened
  • He proposed a joint commission handle it
  • He said Mueller’s investigators could watch while Russians interrogate alleged spies
  • But Putin’s spies would get to interview U.S. intelligence officers
  • Putin called Trump ‘Donald’ and praised him for North Korean diplomacy
  • ‘Who is to be believed and who is not to be believed? You can trust no one’ 
  • Trump said of Putin’s denial: ‘He feels very strongly about it and he has an interesting idea’ 
  • Trump began Monday by bashing the Mueller probe, ‘Crooked Hillary,’ and Barack Obama and went after U.S. ‘foolishness and stupidity’ dealing with Russia
  • Russia’s ministry of foreign affairs said it agreed with him in a response
  • Trump earlier vented that no matter how well he does he won’t be appreciated 
  • Blasted the media as the ‘enemy of the people,’ a term used in Soviet times, over the weekend 
  • Said that Democrats and his critics would go after him even if ‘I was given the great city of Moscow’ 
  • The shots came after indictments of 12 Russian spies accused of election hack conspiracy     

Russian President Vladimir Putin told a room full of U.S. and Russian reporters that he wanted Donald Trump to win the presidency in 2016 – and Trump said he believed Putin’s denials of interfering in 2016 – in just two of the many revelations in a joint press conference that only fueled the spectacle of the Russia story.

‘I have president Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be,’ Trump said, speaking to reporters about Russian election meddling as he stood side-by-side with the man U.S. intelligence says ordered it.

‘So 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,’ Trump said after meeting with Putin in Helsinki in a controversial summit.

President Vladimir Putin said he wanted Donald Trump to win the presidential election

President Vladimir Putin said he wanted Donald Trump to win the presidential election

Trump hailed a new thaw in U.S.-Russia relations has already begun following a two-hour private meeting between the two men – and then fired repeatedly at the Mueller probe and Democratic rivals in a whirling display that immediately overshadowed any substantive talks the leaders held.

In a bizarre press conference, Putin denied having compromising information on Trump – even as he touted his own spy skills. And Trump denied the infamous dirty dossier by saying if the dirt were real it would have come out already.

‘And now to the compromising material …’ Putin, a former KGB colonel responded when asked if the Russians hold compromising leverage over Trump.

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‘I do know how dossiers are made up,’ Putin joked, referring to his past.

But Trump was having none of it – at a press conference where he demanded someone find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, pointed to a server associated with a House Democratic staffer, and accepted a soccer ball from Putin after congratulating the Russian team’s performance at the World Cup.

‘And I have to say if they had it, it would have been out long ago,’ Trump interjected, referencing unverified claims in the Steele dossier about his conduct in a Moscow hotel room during the Miss Universe Pageant before he was president.

GAME BALL: Putin gave Trump a soccer ball following the completion of the World Cup in Russia

GAME BALL: Putin gave Trump a soccer ball following the completion of the World Cup in Russia

TEAM SPORT: President Donald Trump throws to his wife (unseen) a ball of the 2018 football World Cup that he received from Russia's President as a present during a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018

TEAM SPORT: President Donald Trump throws to his wife (unseen) a ball of the 2018 football World Cup that he received from Russia’s President as a present during a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018

First Lady Melania Trump holds a soccer ball during a press conference after the meeting of U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018

First Lady Melania Trump holds a soccer ball during a press conference after the meeting of U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018

During his answer on election interference, Putin appeared to question whether Truth can even be established on such a matter. ‘Who is to be believed and who is not to be believed? You can trust no one.’

Trump declared the U.S.-Russia relationship on the mend – coming off a NATO trip where he attacked traditional allies Germany and the European Union.

‘Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However that changed as of about four hours ago,’ the president told a packed room of reporters in Helsinki at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump congratulated Putin on the World Cup held in Russia

Trump congratulated Putin on the World Cup held in Russia

Russia's Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Donald Trump at the start of their summit in Helsinki that it was time to talk about relations between Moscow and Washington

Russia’s Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Donald Trump at the start of their summit in Helsinki that it was time to talk about relations between Moscow and Washington

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his US counterpart: ‘The time has to come to talk in a substantive way’

The men met one-on-one, with no notetaker or staff, before larger meeting.

Trump raised the hot issue of Russian interference in the presidential election, both presidents confirmed, as Trump had telegraphed in advance.

Putin, addressing reporters first, referred to it as ‘so-called interference.’

‘I had to reiterate things I said several times,’ Putin said, summarizing the conversation that jumped high up on the agenda after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian spies for hacking Democrats in a conspiracy that according to the feds was carried out to dump unflattering material on the Internet and help Trump.

‘The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal am affairs including election process,’ Putin said, denying it.

President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018

President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018

Monday's meeting is being closely watched on both sides of the Atlantic, coming days after the U.S. Justice Department indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers for their role in hacking Democratic entities during the 2016 presidential campaign

Monday’s meeting is being closely watched on both sides of the Atlantic, coming days after the U.S. Justice Department indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers for their role in hacking Democratic entities during the 2016 presidential campaign

The two will talk about 'everything from trade to military to missiles to China. We'll be talking a little bit about China. Our mutual friend president Xi,' Trump said

The two will talk about ‘everything from trade to military to missiles to China. We’ll be talking a little bit about China. Our mutual friend president Xi,’ Trump said

‘We have both made some mistakes,’ Trump said later on election interference.

Then Trump rained fire on Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, which has led to guilty pleas by several associates but that Trump regularly brands a ‘witch hunt.’

‘The probe is a disaster for our country,’ The president said.

‘There was no collusion at all,’ Trump said, returning to his denial. He said he ‘beat Hillary Clinton easitly.

‘Zero collusion – and it has had a negative impact on the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world,’ Trump said. ‘It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.’

The two will talk about 'everything from trade to military to missiles to China. We'll be talking a little bit about China. Our mutual friend president Xi,' Trump said

The two will talk about ‘everything from trade to military to missiles to China. We’ll be talking a little bit about China. Our mutual friend president Xi,’ Trump said

After more than two hours of one-on-one discussions with only translators present, Trump called the meeting 'a good start, a very good start for everybody'

After more than two hours of one-on-one discussions with only translators present, Trump called the meeting 'a good start, a very good start for everybody'

After more than two hours of one-on-one discussions with only translators present, Trump called the meeting ‘a good start, a very good start for everybody’

US President Donald Trump (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (second right), attend a working lunch during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki

US President Donald Trump (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (second right), attend a working lunch during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki

US President Donald Trump (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (second right), attend a working lunch during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki

US President Donald Trump (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (second right), attend a working lunch during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki

What they said: Energy and competition

President Donald Trump says he means it as a compliment when he says Russian President Vladimir Putin is a ‘competitor.’ in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump, asked about a Russian gas pipeline to Germany, noted that the U.S. and Russia compete in the energy market.

Trump criticized the pipeline during an earlier stop on his weeklong visit to Europe.

In his dismissal of the claims of the Dossier, Putin maintained he had no idea Trump was traveling to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant in 2014.

‘Yeah, I did hear these rumors that these allegedly collected compromising material on Mr. Trump when he was visiting Moscow.,’ he said, when asked if he had anything on Trump.

‘Distinguished colleague, let me tell you this, when President Trump was in Moscow back then, I didn’t even know that he was in Moscow. I treat President Trump with utmost respect, but back then when he was a private individual, a businessman, nobody informed me that he was in Moscow,’ Putin claimed.

Then he continued: ‘Let’s take St. Petersburg economic forum, for instance. There were over 500 American businessmen, high ranking, high level ones. I don’t even remember the last names of each an every one. Do you think that we try to collect compromising material on each and every single one of them? Well, it’s difficult to imagine on a bigger scale of this. Please disregard these issues and don’t think about this anymore again.’

What they said: Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-Un

Putin praised President Donald Trump for this efforts to resolve nuclear tensions with North Korea.

The Russian President said: ‘It’s good that the gradual resolution of the problem of the Korean Peninsula has begun.’

He continued, saying: ‘In many respects, this became possible due to the fact that President Trump personally got involved in the resolution, building dialogue in the spirt of cooperation, not confrontation.’

But according to ‘Russian Roulette’ by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, called Trump to apologize that Putin couldn’t attend the pageant when it happened, and sent Trump a gift.

The account was seconded by music publicist Rob Goldstone, who says he was there along with his client Emin Agalorov, both of whom helped set up a 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower.

 ‘I know because I was there!’ Goldstone tweeted Monday.

Putin referenced a joint-agreement between the U.S. and Russia, and threw out an idea for Mueller, when asked if he would consider extraditing 12 Russians spies accused of hacking the election.

He said Mueller could ‘send a formal and official request’ and that Russia’s own law enforcement would interrogate the alleged hackers, mostly intelligence officers in the G.R.U.

‘Moreover, we can meet you halfway. We can make another step. We can actually permit official representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller, we can lead them into the country and they will be present for this questioning,’ Putin said.

Trump called it ‘an incredible offer.’

But the Putin proposed ‘another condition.’

He brought up William Browder, a financier who crusaded for the Magnitsky Act, which slaps sanctions on Russians, following the death in prison of his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky after uncovering an alleged ponzi scheme.

‘For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over one and a half billion dollars in Russia. They never paid any taxes, neither in Russian army in the United States and yet the money escaped the country, they were transferred to the United States,’ Putin said.

‘They sent huge amount of money – $400 million – as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton,’ he claimed.

Trump said he found Putin’s denial ‘powerful,’ as he lashed out in all directions and talked about Democratic servers he said couldn’t be located.

‘I really believe that this will probably go on for a while but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC?’ Trump fumed.

‘Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone, just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily,’ Trump continued.

‘I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s thirty three thousand e-mails.’

Then he referenced Putin’s denial of the hacking.

‘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 and what he did is an incredible offer,’ Trump said.

His director of national intelligence, former Sen. Dan Coates, had warned that ‘the lights are blinking red’ on the risk of another cyber attack.

Trump’s private conversation with Putin in Helsinki blew past an allotted 90 minutes and went on for more than two hours on Monday.

Their talks were running wildly behind schedule after Putin landed an hour late in Finland, and Trump refused to depart his overnight accommodations for the summit site until the rival leader was on the ground.

Close talks that were held in private pushed the summit schedule back another half-hour after the leaders talked alone for two hours and 10 minutes, according to government officials.

As their second meeting began, President Trump said talks were off to a ‘very good start’ in brief remarks to press.

‘I think it’s a good start. Very, very good start for everybody,’ he said at a working lunch.

At the start of their first session Trump talked of ‘great opportunities’ between the two nations at a time of extreme tension between the nuclear powers and predicted they would have an ‘extraordinary relationship.’

Asked about election meddling by reporters, Trump did not respond. Putin appeared to smirk.

Trump and Putin speak after meeting in Helsinki

TRUMP’S OPENING REMARKS

Talks covered ‘a wide range of critical issues for both our countries. We had a productive dialogue that went very well’.

‘I want to congratulate Russian President Putin for hosting one of the best ever World Cups. A great job.’

‘(I am) here today to begin a proud tradition of bold American diplomacy.’

‘Diplomacy and engagement are preferable to conflict and hostility … Not only good for the United States and Russia but good for the world.’

‘If we are going to solve many of the problems facing our world, we will have to find ways to cooperate … We have seen the consequences when diplomacy is left on the table.’

‘Our relationship has never been worse than it is now, however that changed as of about four hours ago.

‘Refusing to engage will not accomplish anything. I will not make decisions on foreign policy to appease the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct. I would rather take political risks in pursuit of peace than risk peace in pursuit of politics.

‘I will do what is best for the American people’.

‘I addressed directly (the question of) Russian interference in our elections. We spent a great deal of time talking about it. He (Putin) feels strongly about the issue and has an interesting idea.’

‘We discussed nuclear proliferation. After today I am sure we and they want to end that problem.’

‘We also discussed the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism that Russia and the United States have suffered.

‘We will maintain open communication between our security agencies to fight this global menace.’

‘We also discussed at length the crisis in Syria. Co-operation between our countries has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives.

‘(I) made clear we will not allow Iran to benefit from our successful campaign against ISIS.’

‘Our national security councils will meet to follow up all the agreements we made today. We have made the first steps towards a brighter future, grounded on cooperation and peace.

‘President (Putin) I want to thank you for advancing open dialogue between Russia and the United States … for the greater good of all.

‘This was a very constructive day, the few hours we spent today. It is in the interest of both our countries to continue this conversation and we will meet again in the future.’

PUTIN’S OPENING REMARKS

‘Negotiations with Trump took place in an open and constructive atmosphere, I find them rather successful and useful.’

‘It is obvious to everyone that international relations have lived through a difficult period … The Cold War has ended a long time ago, the situation in the world has drastically changed. Russia and the United States are now facing totally different challenges.’

Putin said the meeting marked the first steps to restore ‘an acceptable level of trust and go back to previous level of interaction on all mutual interest issues’.

‘As far as Syria is concerned the task of establishing peace and reconciliation in this country could be the first showcase example of successful joint work.’

‘The United States could convince the Ukrainian leadership to fulfil the Minsk (peace) accords.’

‘(Trump) touched upon the theme of Russia’s so-called meddling (in the 2016 U.S. election). I had to repeat what I’ve said before, that the Russian state has never interfered and has no intention to interfere.’

‘We have offered to consider building the philosophy of bilateral relations for the long term.’

‘We have good talks, we started to understand each other better.’

‘The talks have reflected our mutual desire to improve the situation … to restore trust,â Putin said, referring to global security, economic issues and ecological risks.

‘We find it important to have dialogue on strategic stability.’

‘We have everything necessary for efficient cooperation on Syria.’

‘We as the largest gas state – and the United States is also such a country – could have worked on regulating the global market. We are not interested in prices dropping to low levels as producers could get hurt. We are also not interested in excessively high prices.’

‘Concerning Nord Stream 2 I have reassured Trump that Russia is ready to preserve (gas) transit via Ukraine. We are ready to extend the contract that expires in 2019 if the dispute in Stockholm (court) is solved.’

‘No one should trust anyone. He (Trump) is defending U.S. interests, I am defending interests of the Russian Federation. We have matching interests, we are looking for common points.’

‘Concerning 12 alleged security officers, I know nothing about it, I need to figure out. Trump has put this question to me, we have discussed this.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5958569/Trump-lauds-new-opportunity-U-S-Russian-cooperation-Putin-shows-hour-LATE.html

Trump hopes ‘extraordinary relationship’ will result from Putin summit

July 16, 2018

President Donald Trump opened a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday by predicting that their countries will end up having “an extraordinary relationship” but without mentioning Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in his opening remarks.

“Our two countries, frankly, we have not been getting along well,” Trump said as he and Putin sat down at the Presidential Palace in Finland’s capital. “I really think the world wants to see us get along.”

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U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

Putin, for his part, said he and Trump have maintained regular contact, including talking by phone and meeting at international events. Speaking through a translator, the Russian leader said “the time has come to have a thorough discussion on various international problems and sensitive issues.”

The summit got underway hours after Trump blamed the United States, and not Russian election meddling or its annexation of Crimea, for a low-point in U.S.-Russia relations. The drama was playing out against a backdrop of fraying Western alliances, a new peak in the Russia investigation and fears that Moscow’s aggression may go unchallenged.

“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted.

The summit, which was being closely monitored by rattled world capitals, was condemned in advance by members of Congress from both parties after the U.S. indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump’s presidential campaign. Undeterred, the American president was set to go face to face with Putin, the authoritarian leader for whom he has expressed admiration.

The summit started late because Putin arrived in Helsinki about a half hour behind schedule in another display of the Russian’s leader famous lack of punctuality. Trump seemed to return the favor by waiting until Putin had arrived at the palace before leaving his hotel. Putin has been late for past meetings with the pope and British Queen, among many others.

Trump and his aides have repeatedly tried to lower expectations about what the summit will achieve. He told CBS News that he didn’t “expect anything” from Putin, while his national security adviser said the U.S. wasn’t looking for any “concrete deliverables.” Trump told reporters during a breakfast Monday with Finland’s president that he thought the summit would go “fine.”

Trump said he and Putin would discuss a range of issues, from trade to the military, along with missiles and China. They shared a brief handshake before reporters were ushered out so they could begin their one-on-one talks in the palace’s opulent Gothic Hall.

They’ll continue their discussions with an expanded group of aides and over lunch in the Hall of Mirrors, once the emperor’s throne room. The leaders will conclude by taking questions at a joint news conference.

Observers have raised concerns about the fact that the leaders will be alone during their first meeting, but for a pair of interpreters, meaning there will be no corroborating witnesses to accurately represent what was said during the conversation.

The 72-year-old brash billionaire has been president for 18 months, while the former KGB officer, 65, has run Russia for the past 18 years.

The meeting comes as questions swirl about whether Trump will sharply and publicly rebuke his Russian counterpart for the election meddling that prompted a special counsel probe that Trump has repeatedly labeled a “witch hunt.”

After the bad-tempered NATO summit and a contentious trip by Trump to Britain, anxious European leaders may be relieved if not much comes out of the Helsinki meeting.

Those leaders are already fuming over Trump’s imposition of trade tariffs on various countries, including Russia.

European Union President Donald Tusk called on the United States, China and Russia to work together to cool the global trade tensions, warning that they could spiral into violent “conflict and chaos.”

After a stormy NATO summit in Brussels last week, Trump was accused by critics of cozying up to Putin while undermining the alliance.

But, over breakfast with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, he insisted NATO “has never been stronger” and “never been more together” thanks to his insistence on all allies paying their fair share.

Trump is also under pressure from Britain to press Putin over the nerve agent poisoning of four people in the city of Salisbury.

Many fear that Trump — in his eagerness to prove that he was right to seek the summit with Putin despite U.S. political opposition — may give up too much ground.

Ahead of the talks, Trump has refused to personally commit to the U.S. refusal to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, leaving open the possibility of a climb-down linked to a promise by Putin to somehow rein in Iranian influence in Syria.

If Washington were to de facto accept Russia’s 2014 land-grab, this would break with decades of U.S. policy and send tremors through NATO’s exposed eastern flank.

https://www.dailysabah.com/americas/2018/07/16/trump-hopes-extraordinary-relationship-will-result-from-putin-summit

 

Juan Williams: Putin wins as GOP spins

July 16, 2018

On Monday, President Trump will meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

The big question is: Why is Trump meeting with Putin at all?

On Friday, 12 Russian intelligence operatives were indicted by a U.S. grand jury for a conspiracy to interfere with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign while helping Trump win the White House.

By Juan Williams
The Hill
July 16, 2018

Image may contain: 2 people

US President Donald Trump meets with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Right now, the Russians are already busy hacking into the 2018 midterms. 

“With the U.S. midterms approaching, Russian trolls found ways to remain active on Twitter well into 2018, trying to rile up the American electorate with tweets on everything from Roseanne Barr’s firing to Donald Trump Jr.’s divorce,” the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) recently explained the Russian interference as an ongoing successful propaganda effort intended to “create instability and doubt in governments, because they believe they benefit from the chaos and loss of confidence in U.S. institutions.”

Image result for James Lankford, photos

James Langford

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, a former Republican senator, said on Friday that “the warning lights are blinking red again” when it comes to the danger from Russian cyberattacks.

But President Trump doesn’t see a problem. “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election,” the president tweeted June 28.

And a Gallup survey released last week found Trump’s view is leading his fellow Republicans to embrace Russia. “The percentage of Republicans calling Russia a friend or ally is up sharply since 2014, from 22 percent to 40 percent,” the pollsters reported.

Last week in London, Trump was pushed to say he will bring up Russian interference in U.S. politics but he predicted little would come of it.

“I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me,’” Trump said downplaying Russian interference. “There won’t be a Perry Mason here…But I will absolutely firmly ask the question. And hopefully we’ll have a very good relationship with Russia.”

Democrats are pointed in explaining why Trump sees no problem.

Putin “supported President Trump over Hillary Clinton,” said Eliot Engel (D- N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in May.

Image result for Eliot Engel, photos

Eliot Engel

Engel added: “If we allow foreign interference in our elections so long as it supports our political objectives, then we’ve put party before country and put our democracy in crisis.”

That did not stop a delegation of seven Republican senators and a congresswoman from going to Russia recently on what looked like a water carrying mission for Trump’s alternative reality.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R- Wis.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, came back to Capitol Hill to say that Russian interference in U.S. elections, while not acceptable, is “not the greatest threat to our democracy,” and “we’ve blown it way out of proportion.”

He later said the Republican visitors had warned the Russians about interference.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who led the delegation to Russia over the Independence Day break, offered a Trump-like view of U.S.-Russian relations:

“The United States does not want, nor does it need, to resume a Cold War posture with Russia, and our delegation trip was a small step towards trying to ensure that does not happen,” he said.

That led Sen. Ben Cardin (D- Md.) to say the delegation’s trip made it clear “there are members of the Senate who are either naïve or they don’t recognize the real risk factors that Russia imposes on our system of government.”

Image result for Ben Cardin , photos

Ben Cardin

And last week the president appeared to distance himself from U.S. allies as if pursuing a Russian agenda.

A translated clip from Russian state-run television has gone viral in progressive media circles showing a Russian commentator marveling at Trump’s trashing of NATO.

“I never thought I’d live to see this!” the Russian commentator exclaims. “Neither the USSR nor Russia, who tried many times to drive the wedge between transatlantic allies, but the main player, Washington, and President Trump himself is doing everything to break down the foundations of transatlantic alliance and unity.”

In fact, Trump falsely claimed that Germany was a “captive” to Putin because “60 to 70 percent of their energy comes from Russia.”

The insulting mischaracterization drew a sharp rebuke from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“I myself experienced a part of Germany that was controlled by the Soviet Union, and I am very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany,” Merkel said. “We decide our own policies and make our own decisions, and that’s very good.”

By contrast, Trump never misses an opportunity to say nice things about Vladimir Putin.

As a candidate, he said Putin was “a leader far more than our President (Obama)” and a “strong leader.”

And despite pleas from his aides, Trump congratulated Putin on his election victory earlier this year — legitimizing what many international observers believe to be a sham election.

Meanwhile, Trump’s former campaign manager awaits trial for illicit ties to Russia and his former National Security Adviser stands a felon for lying about his contacts with Russia.

Trump is banking on Soviet-style propaganda in the U.S. to make Russian interference, along with the Mueller investigation, into a partisan issue.

The winner in all of this madness is Putin. He is dividing Americans against themselves and America against her allies.

Only the American voters can stop it.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

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http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/397140-juan-williams-putin-wins-as-gop-spins
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Sen. Rand Paul: Asking for Russian hackers’ extradition a ‘moot point’—https://wsvn.com/news/politics/sen-rand-paul-asking-for-russian-hackers-extradition-a-moot-point/

Did Hillary’s email security negligence as U.S. Secretary of State invite Russian cyber meddling?

Trump Blames U.S. for Poor Relations With Moscow

July 16, 2018

Hours before one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin, U.S. president tweets about many years of ‘ and stupidity’

President Donald Trump arrives in Helsinki for his highly anticipated meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
President Donald Trump arrives in Helsinki for his highly anticipated meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. PHOTO: HEIKKI SAUKKOMAA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
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HELSINKI—President Donald Trump blamed the U.S. for the state of its relationship with Moscow that he said had “NEVER been worse,” raising the question of how hard he intends to press Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting later Monday on issues including meddling in the U.S. election and Russia’s aggression in Crimea.

Mr. Trump tweeted that “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity” and what he termed the “Rigged Witch Hunt”—referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election—had caused current poor relations.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!

Later in the day, the president will hold a meeting with Mr. Putin that comes amid friction between Moscow and the West. Top aides to Mr. Trump have said the goal is to open a conversation rather than accomplish a reset of U.S.-Russian relations.

The president has denied colluding with Russia, and Moscow has denied election meddling. On Friday, Mr. Mueller charged a dozen Russian intelligence officers with hacking the computers of Democratic organizations and ensuring the pilfered information became public.

The Russian foreign ministry’s Twitter account on Monday “liked” the president’s tweet blaming the U.S. for the state of the relationship. Russian state-owned news agencies prominently featured the president’s tweet. A headline on the Russian news site RIA Novosti read: “Relations with Russia have deteriorated because of the stupidity of the United States, said Trump.”

As he arrived at the Mantyiemi Palace here to meet with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on Monday morning, Mr. Trump ignored a shouted question about whether he would tell Mr. Putin that election meddling constituted a “red line.”

He said he would “do just fine” in the Putin meeting, and described the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose members he clashed with at last week’s summit over military spending and a range of other issues, as “never…more together.”

Mr. Putin landed Monday afternoon in Helsinki behind schedule, less than 20 minutes before his private meeting with Mr. Trump was expected to begin.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!

Mr. Trump’s meeting with Mr. Putin comes after the U.S. president spent much of last week in tense meetings with longstanding U.S. allies at the NATO summit and delivering critical comments about U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May handling of the Brexit process.

Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly blamed his predecessor for Russian interference in recent days, tweeted Monday: “President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal.”

Former President Barack Obama sought a reset of U.S.-Russia relations early in his administration. But the situation soured after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, which prompted its expulsion from the former Group of Eight, now the Group of Seven. The U.S. has since heightened sanctions on Moscow and expelled Russian diplomats for its interference in the 2016 election and following the poisoning in the U.K. of a former Russian spy and his daughter, an act that Western countries say was likely carried out by Moscow.

Mr. Obama in September 2016 confronted Mr. Putin about election meddling. Critics have said Mr. Obama could have acted sooner or more decisively.

Mr. Trump in recent days has said he would raise the issue of election meddling with Mr. Putin, but suggested he didn’t plan to press the matter particularly hard. In a CBS interview Sunday, asked whether he would ask Mr. Putin to extradite the Russian officials charged by Mr. Mueller, he said: “I hadn’t thought of that…But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it.”

Mr. Trump’s one-on-one meeting with the Russian leader, joined only by their interpreters, is expected to last roughly an hour and a half. Mr. Trump has been reluctant to include a note taker because he is wary of leaks, said a foreign official briefed on the plans. The two leaders will then be joined by senior officials on both sides, followed by a press conference.

Allies, including the U.K. and Germany, have said they are supportive of the meeting between Messrs. Trump and Putin. But some diplomats and U.S. lawmakers have raised concerns that while the summit offers Mr. Putin an end to the American effort to isolate Russia following its 2014 annexation of Crimea, it is unclear what the U.S. will get in return.

Mr. Trump also alarmed diplomats with his description of the European Union as a “foe” in the CBS interview Sunday, in which he aligned the longstanding U.S. ally with Russia when asked about his biggest global competitors.

“I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade,” Mr. Trump said. “Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically.”

Of particular concern to NATO allies is whether Mr. Trump might make concessions on Crimea and reverse the longstanding U.S. and NATO position that Crimea belongs to Ukraine. The president has made comments in recent months that appear sympathetic to Russia’s position on the annexation.

Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, told NBC Sunday it was “highly unlikely” there would be a change in position on Crimea. But, he said: “The agenda is the president’s. Everything will be his call.”

Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-blames-u-s-for-poor-relations-with-moscow-1531732220

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Asia Stocks Decline Amid Mixed China Economic Data

July 16, 2018

Asian stocks fell as mixed economic data in China failed to allay concern about the world’s second largest economy’s ability to the withstand the impact of the trade dispute. Crude slid and the yen traded near the weakest level since January.

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Equities from Sydney to Shanghai dropped, while those in Hong Kong recouped losses during the morning. Volumes were down in most markets with Japan shut for a public holiday. The yen held its recent losses after posting its biggest weekly slide in 10 months. Oil fell below $71 a barrel amid speculation the Trump administration is considering tapping into emergency crude supplies. U.S. equity futures ticker higher after Friday’s gains pushed the S&P 500 back above 2,800, with a pause in trade tensions outweighing a mixed start to the earnings season.

Trade tensions have eased somewhat as officials in Beijing appeared to moderate their response to President Donald Trump’s tariff threats amid a slowing economy, falling stock market and weakening currency. Data Monday showed China’s economic expansion slowed down slightly from the previous quarter, with industrial output in June missing estimates. Later this week investors expect Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to lay the groundwork for further tightening.

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These are some key events coming up this week:

  • Earnings season continues with reports due from companies including: Bank of America, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, American Express, Netflix, Microsoft, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and IBM.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold their first summit together.
  • Fed’s Powell delivers the semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the Senate Banking Committee and answers lawmakers’ questions.

And here are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • Hang Seng slid 0.2 percent as of 12:22 p.m. in Hong Kong, having slipped as much as 0.7 percent earlier. Hang Seng China Enterprises Index down 0.7 percent.
  • Shanghai Composite declined 0.5 percent.
  • South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.2 percent.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index were up 0.1 percent. The underlying gauge rose 0.1 percent Friday.

Currencies

  • The Japanese yen slid 0.1 percent to 112.48 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan rose 0.1 percent to 6.7083 per dollar.
  • The euro was little changed at $1.1684.
  • The British pound rose 0.1 percent to $1.3240.
  • The kiwi dollar climbed 0.2 percent to 67.67 U.S. cents.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped two basis points to 2.83 percent Friday.
  • Australian 10-year government bond yields were steady at 2.63 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.6 percent to $70.60 a barrel.
  • Gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,243.64 an ounce.

— With assistance by Richard Richtmyer

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-15/asia-stocks-signal-mixed-start-ahead-of-china-data-markets-wrap

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