Trump at Helsinki: Ronald Reagan or Neville Chamberlain?

Calvin Saunders
July 21, 2018

Russian politicians are rallying behind Vladimir Putin and denouncing American suggestions that the translator at his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump be interrogated about what they discussed privately.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked Wednesday if Trump supports the idea of having McFaul and Bill Browder, a London-based financier and Putin critic, questioned by Russian Federation and if this came up in the Trump-Putin private conversation at their summit in Helsinki, Finland on Monday.

Trump said if Russian President Vladimir Putin crossed the line, he would "be the worst enemy" he's ever had.

Asked in Helsinki whether he would extradite 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted in the United States for hacking Democratic Party computers, Putin said he could meet the U.S. government "halfway". Critics complained that Trump was given ample opportunity at a joint news conference on Monday to scold Putin over Russian interference in the USA election but instead accepted Putin's denials over the word of American intelligence agencies.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was also unaware that Putin was being invited to Washington.

"... The path to positive changes has all the same begun", said Putin.

McFaul tweeted Wednesday that he hoped the White House would denounce "this ridiculous request from Putin".

But Coat's remarks at the came amid reported Russian claims that the two leaders reached unspecified agreements in their meeting.

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White House staffers are bracing for the president's reaction to Coats' performance, according to the Washington Post.

In a more light-hearted moment, Coats also assured attendees at the conference that the soccer ball that Putin hand-delivered to Trump at Monday's press conference in Helsinki did not pose a security risk. "Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along", he said.

"I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed", he wrote.

Putin's proposal will alarm Ukrainian officials after Trump last week appeared to leave open the possibility of recognizing Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, which triggered the crisis that led to fighting in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Coats also said that three days after Trump met with Putin he does not know what the two men discussed. "We just have to find a way to get it going", said Rubio, who predicted the measure could get a veto-proof 85 votes in the Senate. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from SC, said he was happy to hear that Sanders had clarified Trump's comment.

Onstage at the Aspen Security Forum, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News interrupted her discussion with Coats to say: "We have some breaking news".

During a news conference, Mr Trump was asked whether he believed USA intelligence agencies' conclusions or Mr Putin about whether Russian Federation had meddled. "We talked about this of course while meeting President Trump".

Trump drew a barrage of criticism in the United States, including from lawmakers in both parties, after he refused to blame Putin for the election meddling. We're not going to have it.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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