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WASHINGTON, July 17 (APP):President Donald Trump on Monday rejected criticism of his remarks at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, after a backlash from the American media and some of his own party Senators severely over the stand he took on the alleged Russia meddling in 2016 Presidential elections.
After two hours of one-on-one summit with his Russian counterpart, and later the delegation level talks, the two leaders addressed a joint press conference in which President Trump appeared to deny findings of the US intelligence community that Russia interfered with the US elections that Trump won.
However, in a tweet from Air Force One, on his way back home, he sought to set aside the impression and said he had full confidence in the country’s intelligence community.
“As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people,’ ” he said but added that he also recognized 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!”.
When asked whether he believed his own intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered, the President stopped short of directly saying that. ““My people came to me … they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “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” Russia. “But I have confidence in both parties,” he added.
The summit came days after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian nationals for their alleged roles in hacking the Democratic National Committee. President Putin said that the issue was raised by President Trump during the one-on-one meeting, but that he did not press him or condemn the election meddling.
While the Democrats launched a scathing criticism on Trump, even some of his party members also joined them.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said that President Trump “must appreciate that Russia is not our ally”. Senator John McCain, a fierce critic of the President dubbed the press conference “one of the most disgraceful performance by an American president in memory”.
The President was even criticized by his longtime supporter and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said his performance at the press conference was “the most serious mistake of his presidency”.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the special counsel investigation which is looking into the alleged Russian interference, which last week indicted 12 Russian officials on charges of hacking Democratic servers in 2016.
But, President Trump also found support from some of his party members. Sen. Rand Paul, who plans to travel to Russia next month to play shuttle diplomacy for President Trump. He said that Republicans who were criticizing the President were “motivated by their persistent and consistent dislike of the president”.