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Trump Refuses to Denounce Russian Meddling In the 2016 election in Press Conference with Vladimir Putin
President Trump arrived back in America to calls of 'treason' after his heavily-criticized summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Trump's critics and some of his allies lined up to bash the President after he appeared to side with Putin over his own security services when asked about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Former CIA director John Brennan said Trump's remarks were 'treasonous' while Newt Gingrich, usually a supporter of Trump, accused him of making 'the most serious mistake of his presidency'.
None of that criticism was leveled at Trump as he went on Fox for a sympathetic interview with Sean Hannity on Monday night, however, where he praised Putin as 'very, very strong'.
Donald Trump has arrived home after meeting Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, as the President was described as 'treasonous' for refusing to stand up to Russia over election interference
Trump and wife Melania arrived at the White House aboard Marine One on Monday night to a storm of criticism from his opponents and a muted response from his allies
The President's own team admitted Trump had looked 'weak' while Putin appeared 'like a champion' during the summit
In a sympathetic interview with Sean Hannity on Monday night, Trump praised Putin as 'very, very strong' and said he thought the meeting went 'great'
'I think it was great today,' he said of his afternoon in Helsinki.
The White House has struggled to explain why Trump aligned so closely with Putin, and lawmakers in both major parties expressed concern with his suggestion that he believes Putin's denial of interfering in the 2016 elections.
Trump, however, had a positive attitude toward the meeting.
He also echoed Putin's argument that if the Russians had information on him it would have come out.
Putin 'said as strongly as you can say it, they have no information on Trump. It was an interesting statement, too,' Trump said.
'One thing you know if they had it, it would have been out. And so, he said it's nonsense. That's right. And he also said there's absolutely no collusion, which you know,' he added.
The president taped the interview with Hannity in Helsinki shortly after his press conference with Putin.
The criticism of the president grew as he flew back to America. And Trump didn't answer questions about his meeting upon his return to the White House Monday evening.
Republican Sen. John McCain said in a statement that 'Today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.'
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday there was 'no question' that Moscow interfered in the U.S. 2016 election and that President Donald Trump 'must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.'
At the Helsinki event after their two-hour face-to-face talks, Trump said Putin's denial of meddling in the election was 'very powerful'.
Trump told Hannity that Putin had assured him there was 'no collusion' with Russia during the election, which he wholeheartedly agreed with
Paul Ryan, an old foe of Trump's who has aligned with the President in recent months, said Trump 'needs to appreciate that Russia is not our ally'. Meanwhile Newt Gingrich, a supporter of Trump, said he made 'the most serious mistake of his presidency'
John McCain, who has long been at loggerheads with Trump, called the summit 'one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory'
'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,'
The president did reiterate his concern about global nuclearization and said it's the 'most important' issue to him.
'To me, the most important issue is the nuclear issue, because I know President Obama said global warming is our biggest problem, and I would say that no, it's nuclear warming is our biggest problem by a factor of about five million,' he said. 'The nuclear problem we have to make sure, we have to be very careful. If you look at Russia and the United States, that's 90 percent of the nuclear weapons.'
Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore in June to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, an issue he said Putin promised him help with.
'He also said he wants to be very helpful with North Korea. We're doing well with North Korea, we have time. There's no rush, it has been going on for many years,' he said. 'President Putin is very much in to making that all happen.'
Trump's former lawyer and right-hand man Michael Cohen, who is now said to be cooperating with the FBI, laid into his former boss over the summit
Trump said ahead of the summit that he hoped it would lead to a new era of relations with Russia, but was accused of caving in to Putin in Helsinki
President Trump also charged President Barack Obama with knowing about FBI agent Peter Strzok's behavior during the time he was texting anti-Trump sentiments to an FBI agent with whom he was having an affair.
'You have to find out who did Peter Strzok report to because it was (former FBI Director James) Comey and it was (former Deputy Director Andrew) McCabe, but it was also probably Obama,' Trump said.
The president has sought to place blame for the Russian interference in the 2016 election on Obama and the Democrats. He has repeatedly decried a 'witch hunt' against him.
He resumed his criticism of Strzok, who testified before House lawmakers in an opening hearing last week, as a disgrace to the FBI.
'He's a disgrace to our country. He's a disgrace to the great FBI, a disgrace, and how he's still being paid is beyond belief,' Trump said.
Strzok is on paid leave from the FBI. He and agent Lisa Page, who testified in closed session to lawmakers on Friday and Monday, were having an affair while they both worked on the investigation into Russia's role in the presidential election.
Their anti-Trump texts have been used by the president and his allies to paint the investigation as tainted.