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President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki Finland on July 16 2018, for a summit meeting. What was actually said in the meeting may never be known as President Trump insistenced the first part of the meeting would take place only between him and Putin. The real story of the meeting was the joint press conference afterward. At that conference, Trump stated that he believed the denials of Putin over the statements of the US intelligence services on whether the Russians interfered with the 2016 elections..
President Trump met with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki , Finland on July 16th, 2018. The meeting took place after Trump held earlier meetings with NATO and visited Great Britain.
On July 11 and 12th, Trump attended a NATO meeting. He started out by attacking Germany for its dependence on Russian gas. In the course of the summit, he insisted that NATO allies agree to increase their defense spending, something that they had previously agreed to do by 2024. Trump then left the summit early, announcing that the leaders had all agreed to his demands, leaving the summit in tatters, and leaving the other world leaders scratching their heads in disbelief.
From the NATO summit in Germany, Trump travelled to Great Britain. Trump avoided London where there were large demonstrations against him. He had a state dinner with Prime Minister May on the night of 12th. He then gave an interview with The Sun newspaper in which he said that May had made a mistake by not listening to him, and that she had decreased the chance of a trade agreement with the US. The next day at a Press Conference Trump said The Sun's interview was fake news (The interview was recorded.) In the course of the press conference with Prime Minster May, he said Boris Johnson (who had resigned last week as Foreign Minister ) would make a good Prime Minister.
Trump then spent the next day at his golf resort in Scotland. Before setting off to Helsinki, Trump was interviewed on CBS Face the Nation. He was asked "who is the US' greatest competitor who is the US' greatest foe" - His answer that stunned much of the world: "The US has a lot of foes - I think the European Union is a foe - what they do to us in trade..” He then went on to refer to Russia and China as competitors.
But perhaps the tweet that created the greatest consternation Trump issued on the morning of the 16th in which he said: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Thus stating that the problem of the relationship was all caused by the US and not by the Russians at all.
What went on in the one on one meeting between Putin and Trump is unknown. There is no precedent for a meeting like the one held by Putin and Trump. The meeting lasted for two hours. After that, there was a larger luncheon meeting that lasted for approximately one hour. After the luncheon, there was a press conference. The first part of the press conference was unremarkable with both Trump and Putin giving rather bland statements. They then opened up for questions. Jeff Mason of Reuters then asked:
"Mr. President, you tweeted this morning that it's U.S. foolishness, stupidity and the Mueller probe that is responsible for the decline in U.S. relations with Russia.
Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular? And if so, what would you -- what would you consider them -- that they are responsible for?"
TRUMP: "Yes I do. I hold both countries responsible."
"I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. We should've had this dialogue a long time ago; a long time, frankly, before I got to the office.
And I think we're all to blame. I think that the United States now has stepped forward along with Russia, and we're getting together and we have a chance to do some great things, whether it's nuclear proliferation in terms of stopping -- you have to do it, ultimately that's probably the most important thing that we could be working on.”
Once again creating a moral equivalency between the United States and Russia, and once again not taking the opportunity to criticize any of the actions of the Russian government.
Later in the press conference, Jonathan Lemire of Associated Press asked :
"A question for each president; President Trump, you first.
Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did.
What -- who -- my first question for you, sir, is who do you believe?
My second question is would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?"
TRUMP: "So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server -- haven't they taken the server. Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?
I've been wondering that, I've been asking that for months and months and I've been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?
With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russia. 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. But I really do want to see the server.
But I have -- I have confidence in both parties. I -- 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? Where are those servers? They're missing; where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton's e-mails? 33,000 e-mails gone -- just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn't be gone so easily. I think it's a disgrace that we can't get Hillary Clinton's 33,000 e-mails.
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.
And what he did is an incredible. "
It should be noted in the course of the conference Putin admitted that he favored the election of President Trump over Hilary Clinton.
Much of the world was stunned by the performance. The answers of Putin and Trump seemed to be in sync one finishing the answer of the other. Trump stated straight out that he believed the word of Putin over the analysis of the US Intelligence community.
In the aftermath of the summit reputable journalist like Thomas Friedman and James Fallow were for the first time publicly floated the idea that Trump might truly be compromised by the Russians. So have Democratic Senators and Congressman. Republicans attacked the press conference as a missed opportunity but by and large avoided crticizing Trump.
This is a first take on events- it may need to be updated .
Trump: Biden-Putin Meeting a ‘Good Day for Russia’ — ‘We Gave a Very Big Stage to Russia, and We Got Nothing’
Wednesday, during an interview with FNC host Sean Hannity, former President Donald Trump gave his successor President Joe Biden low marks for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland earlier in the day.
According to Trump, although Putin got to be on the world stage alongside the U.S. president, Biden got nothing in return.
“Let’s start with the events today and your overall thoughts,” Hannity said. “And I want you to address — I will get to a very specific question, but, first, let’s start with your overall thoughts today and what Biden was facing in Putin. And then we will move on from there.”
“Well, I guess the overall is, we didn’t get anything,” Trump replied. “We gave a very big stage to Russia, and we got nothing. We gave up something that was unbelievably valuable. I stopped the pipeline, Nord Stream. And that pipeline was stopped. And it was given back, and nothing was gotten for it. And it was just — it was another day. And performance art, you will take a look at how various people performed, namely, the two people. And, you know, you have to form your own judgment. It’s not for me to say. But I will say that it was — I think it was a good day for Russia. I don’t see what we got out of it.”
Still a summit secret: What happened in Helsinki between Putin and Trump?
Democrats say they are no longer pursuing records of the private meeting.
Ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, congressional Democrats said they are no longer seeking records of former President Donald Trump’s private meetings with the Russian leader, despite previous concerns Trump tried to conceal details of their conversations.
"The Biden administration is looking forward, not back," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., whose panel once considered subpoenaing Trump’s interpreter to testify about his July 2018 meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, where only an American interpreter was also present.
From 2017 to 2019, amid former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Democrats raised questions about Trump’s conversations with Putin, especially after Trump said in Helsinki, standing next to Putin, that he believed his 2017 denial of election interference, over the findings of U.S. intelligence.
Similar questions were raised after the disclosure of an unplanned conversation with Putin during a G-20 dinner in Osaka, Japan, in June 2019 during which Trump was not accompanied by an interpreter.
He had told reporters beforehand that his private discussions with Putin were "none of your business."
In 2019, the Washington Post reported that the former president went to "extraordinary lengths" to conceal details of his conversations with Putin, leaving some subordinates without a clear record of the world leaders’ interactions.
Rep. Tom Malinowksi, D-N.J., a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who served as an assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration, said details about Trump and Putin’s conversations are "historically very interesting," but less relevant given that Trump "is not shaping US policy towards Russia or anything else."
"At the time, my concern was not so much that the former president and Putin had agreed . to do something not in our interest, because President Trump would have to tell somebody that," Malinowski said. "It was more the signal that it sent to Putin that Trump wanted to confide in him above his own team."
Foreign policy analysts ABC News spoke with ahead of Biden’s meeting with Putin in Geneva largely downplayed concerns about Trump and Putin’s conversations, and their impact on Wednesday's summit.
"You’d like to have it, but I don’t think it matters much," Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and president of the Eurasia Group, who first reported Trump and Putin’s second meeting at the G-20 in 2017, told ABC News.
"What happened beforehand has obviously created an atmosphere, a situation in the United States where everyone’s going to be watching closely what happens during that meeting and what is said afterwards,” Angela Stent, the Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told ABC News. "But I think the substance of what was discussed between Trump and Putin is much less important for President Biden going forward."
To prepare for his meeting with Putin, Biden has been receiving daily briefings leading up to the summit, sessions that have included advisors and experts inside the government, and senior officials in the previous administration, including Fiona Hill, a Russia expert who served on Trump’s National Security Council.
"Biden is very engaged in those sessions," Brett Bruen, a former diplomat who served as the Director of Global Engagement at the White House during the Obama administration and participated in briefings with the then vice president, told ABC News.
"Obama would tend to listen, and ask a couple of questions, whereas with Biden it’s more of a conversation," he said. "He does perhaps, more than any other first term president going out on his first foreign trip, have the benefit of being on the world stage for a very long time."
While Bruen said any gaps in the government’s record of Trump’s conversations with Putin could create "major blind spots" in Biden’s preparations, there’s been no indication that the questions have disrupted Biden’s preparations.
In March, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters she was "not aware" of any "deep dive" into finding out what Trump and Putin discussed during their one-on-one meetings. The White House declined to comment on whether the topic was revisited before Wednesday’s summit.
Malinowski speculated that the Biden administration may not be in the dark about Trump's conversations despite concerns about limited notetaking, perhaps because the intelligence community had picked up internal Russian government accounts of the meeting.
"From the people I’ve spoken to, the interpreter who was with Trump at the Helsinki meeting, the other people in the National Security Council at that point, they had a pretty good idea of what was said," Stent told ABC News.
Unlike Trump’s meetings with Putin, Biden’s summit is unlikely to similarly dominate headlines, Bremmer predicted.
"This was the single issue that most exercised the anti-Trump voters on foreign policy," he said. "I don’t think this will be front page news for a week."
Helsinki previously served as the location for the signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975, following a series of meetings intended to reduce tensions between the Western and Soviet blocs during the Cold War.  The U.S. National Security Advisor John R. Bolton met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 27, 2018, to discuss the details of the summit and other bilateral issues.  On June 28, the location of the summit was announced by the White House and the Kremlin to be Helsinki. 
The summit was officially called the #HELSINKI2018 Meeting by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was hosted by the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö.  The summit took place in the Presidential Palace and marked the first official meeting between the leaders after previous unofficial talks between Trump and Putin at the G20 Hamburg and APEC Vietnam summits held in 2017.  Topics Trump announced to be discussed at the summit included the situations in Syria and Ukraine.   The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met his Russian and Finnish counterparts Sergey Lavrov and Timo Soini. 
Niinistö held bilateral meetings with both presidents on the day of the summit. That morning, Niinistö and Finnish First Lady Jenni Haukio welcomed Trump and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump at their main official residence in Mäntyniemi. During the presidents' meeting, the two women met for a joint breakfast. 
The #HELSINKI2018 meeting began at the Presidential Palace after midday (at approximately 1 pm) with Niinistö officially welcoming Putin, followed by Trump. The bilateral discussions between the American and Russian presidents took place in the Presidential Palace's Gothic Hall Trump and Putin met with only interpreters present.  Their meeting was followed by a working lunch including additional officials in the Hall of Mirrors. 
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said they welcomed Trump's planned meeting with Vladimir Putin. 
On July 13, 2018, three days before the summit, Rod Rosenstein, the United States Deputy Attorney General, announced indictments of twelve Russian GRU officers for their efforts in the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak, through the establishment of false identities as DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, as well as charges of money laundering using bitcoin. The timing of these indictments led to closer scrutiny of the upcoming meeting and pressure for Trump to discuss election meddling with Putin.  Bloomberg News reported the day after the summit that Trump permitted the indictments to be announced prior to the summit hoping it would strengthen his position in negotiations with Putin. 
Two days before the scheduled meeting, a group of top Senate Democrats urged Trump to not meet with Putin one-on-one. Signers of a letter advising him not to meet alone with Putin included Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Minority Whip Dick Durbin, and the top Democrats on the Senate Intelligence (Mark Warner), Foreign Relations (Bob Menendez), Judiciary (Dianne Feinstein), Armed Services (Jack Reed), Appropriations (Patrick Leahy), and Banking (Sherrod Brown) committees.  
Controversial remarks Edit
During an interview on the eve of the summit with CBS News, Trump was asked who America's biggest foe is. He said Russia is "a foe in certain aspects" and called the European Union the biggest trade foe of the United States.  Trump tweeted on the morning of the summit that the relationship between Russia and the U.S. has "never been worse".  He blamed this on "foolishness and stupidity" on the part of the U.S., and referenced the ongoing Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, calling it a "witchhunt". The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs retweeted Trump's message, adding "We agree".  Trump also indicated his inclination to accept Putin's denial of Russian interference, saying "President Putin says it's not Russia. I don't see any reason why it would be." 
According to the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle, more than 10 demonstrations were planned for the summit.  On Sunday 15 July, about 2,500 protesters gathered for the "Helsinki Calling" pro-human rights demonstration at the Helsinki Senate Square.   Simultaneously, the youth section of the nationalist Finns Party staged a pro-Trump rally. The "Welcome Trump" event gathered a crowd of 50 people including Finns Party youth and Soldiers of Odin members.  
More demonstrations were planned for Monday 16 July, including the "Stop Putin" and "Helsinki against Trump and Putin" rallies and protests for women's rights, Afghanistan and against Russophobia.  The youth section of the right-wing National Coalition Party said they would hold a demonstration against President Trump's trade policy and Russia's annexation of Crimea. 
U.S. delegation Edit
- President of the United States Donald Trump
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
- National Security Advisor John R. Bolton
- White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly
- US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr.
- White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
- White House Deputy Chief of Staff Zachary Fuentes
- Advisor to the President Fiona Hill
Russian delegation Edit
- President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin
- Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov
- Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
- Foreign Affairs Advisor to the President Yuri Ushakov
- Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov
Trump and Putin met privately for two hours, without aides or note-takers, accompanied only by their respective interpreters. The meeting had been scheduled for 90 minutes but lasted two hours.   The private meeting was followed by a working lunch that included senior advisors. 
Topics discussed Edit
No agenda was published for their discussion, and no communique was issued afterward. Some issues were touched on at the press conference. In the following days Russia issued multiple statements about what it said were agreements made at the summit, "shaping a narrative of the meeting with no confirmation or alternative account from the Trump administration."  In the press conference immediately following the meeting, both leaders described some of their positions. On the question of the Syrian civil war, Trump wanted Iranian troops to leave Syria, while Putin would not commit to their departure. Both agreed that Iranian troops should be kept away from the Israel-Syria border, with Trump noting that "Creating safety for Israel is something both Putin and I would like to see very much." Trump said he is willing to help Syria with humanitarian aid, even if there is no wider peace settlement.  That may contradict the earlier Trump administration position that it will not provide reconstruction assistance to any part of Syria that remains under the control of Bashar al-Assad, whom Russia backs. The Russian ambassador to the U.S. later said that Syria had been the major topic of discussion, along with "the removal of the concerns that the United States has regarding the well-known claims about alleged interference in the elections". Four days after the meeting, a Russian military spokesman said Russia has sent formal proposals for a joint U.S.-Russian effort to reconstruct Syria and facilitate the return home of Syrian refugees. 
In a Fox News interview the next day, Putin indicated that the two had agreed to disagree about Crimea. Putin said he wanted acceptance of the disputed 2014 referendum in which Crimeans voted to become part of Russia, and insisted that Ukraine must never become part of NATO. He said they had agreed to hold talks on extension of the START treaty, which expires in 2021, but he wants to see evidence that the U.S. has lived up to the terms of the treaty. He also wants to negotiate on the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Treaty. 
The day after the meeting, a Russian military spokesman said that Russia is "ready for practical implementation of the agreements reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in the sphere of international security achieved at the Helsinki summit." His statement said the agreements include cooperation in Syria and discussions about extending the START Treaty.  No agreements were announced at the summit, and White House and Pentagon spokesmen said they were not aware of any new agreements.  A spokesman for the National Security Council said "As President Trump stated, the two sides agreed that their national security council staffs will follow up on the presidents' meetings, and these discussions are underway. There were no commitments to undertake any concrete action, beyond agreement that both sides should continue discussions." The spokesman said they are also reviewing suggestions by Putin for a "cyber-group" and an anti-terrorism group. 
At a press conference four days after the summit, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stated, "I’m not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened in Helsinki," and ceded the podium to national security advisor John Bolton, who explained that the issue of election interference was discussed.  Despite this, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer remarked, "It is utterly amazing, utterly amazing, that no one knows what was said."  Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representative Bill Pascrell called for Trump's interpreter, Marina Gross, to testify before Congress, while House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff called for her to testify to the Committee in closed session.   
After the private meeting and the working lunch, Trump and Putin gave a joint press conference. When Trump was asked whether he would condemn Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, he demurred, saying that Putin had denied it. 
JONATHAN LEMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: President Trump, you first. Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. My first question for you sir is, who do you believe? My second question is would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you want him to never do it again?
TRUMP: So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven't they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?
I've been wondering that. I've been asking that for months and months and I've been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?
With that being said, all I can do is ask the question.
My people came to me, Dan Coats, came to me and some others they said they think it's Russia. 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. But I really do want to see the server but I have, I have confidence in both parties.
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.
He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. I think that's an incredible offer. Ok? Thank you. 
During the press conference, Jeff Mason from Reuters asked whether Putin had wanted Donald Trump to win the 2016 presidential election and had he directed any of his officials to help him do that? Putin replied: "Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal." This contradicted a tweet sent by Trump in which he claimed: "I'm very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don't want Trump!" All reference to that exchange between Mr Mason and the Russian leader was omitted from the official White House transcript.  
Asked whether Russia possessed any compromising material on Trump, Putin laughed and talked about the number of businessmen who visit Russia, but did not give a direct answer. Trump commented that if any such material existed "it would have been out long ago". 
The hours immediately following the summit drew bipartisan criticism in the United States. Criticism focused on Trump's perceived acceptance of Putin's denial of involvement in Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, which contradicted the findings of the United States Intelligence Community, and stood in pointed contrast to the indictment of twelve Russian GRU agents just three days earlier in the ongoing Special Counsel investigation:  U.S. media reaction was almost universally negative, even from many commentators on Fox News who normally support the president.  International news coverage of the summit was mostly negative in Europe, triumphant in Russia, and muted in China. 
Democrats universally condemned Trump's performance. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi called it a "sad day for America."  Senate Democrats led by Jeanne Shaheen called for American interpreter Marina Gross, who sat in on the private meeting with Putin, to be questioned before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Shaheen added, if the administration is to exert executive privilege, "we need to find another way to get the information."  Senator Chuck Schumer said "We need hearings as soon as possible", with testimony from members of Trump's national security team present during the Helsinki summit, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo."   NBC News reported that "key senators were preparing to grill" Pompeo "on Russia and North Korea" when he briefs them and that "tempers flared" during a July 18, 2018 Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing at which this was discussed. New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated "If the administration is unwilling to consult with this committee in a meaningful fashion on vital national security issues, then we must consider all appropriate responses." Republican committee chairman Bob Corker stated, "On challenging what happened at NATO, what happened at Helsinki, I will take a backseat to no one in this body," after previously stating that "the dam has broken."  
Many Republicans in Congress strongly criticized Trump as well. Senator Bob Corker claimed Trump "made us look like a pushover", Senator Ben Sasse called Trump's remarks "bizarre and flat-out wrong", while Senator Tim Scott wondered if "day was a step backwards".  Others including Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell reaffirmed support for the U.S. intelligence community without directly condemning Trump.  Newt Gingrich, a longtime Trump supporter, said Trump's statements about the U.S. intelligence community were "the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected — immediately".  Senator John McCain and former Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican nominees for president in 2008 and 2012, respectively, both strongly criticized Trump.  Romney said Trump's siding with Putin rather than U.S. intelligence agencies was "disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles", while McCain called the summit "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory." 
Republican Senator Rand Paul was the lone voice in the Senate to support Trump in the matter,  saying that Trump should be "lauded and not belittled" for being "willing to meet with adversaries to try to prevent us from having World War 3."  A few Republican members of the House of Representatives also made supportive comments. 
Shortly after the summit concluded, CNN reported that Trump's "stunned aides wonder what went wrong" and "openly admitted they don't know how to respond to questions," quoting one official involved with the summit as saying "this was not the plan."  The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal later reported that there was extensive planning before the summit to confront Putin, with one official saying the plan was for Trump to "shove [the Mueller indictments of 12 Russians] in Putin's face and look strong doing it" during both the private meeting and public press conference, but that Trump "did the exact opposite."  
The New York Times, Time magazine, and The New Yorker magazine mocked Trump and the summit. The New York Times' online opinion page displayed homoerotic imagery of Trump and Putin in an animated cartoon by Bill Plympton.  A morphed image of a Trump-Putin hybrid was published on the Time magazine cover.  The New Yorker magazine cover art displayed a parody of Trump's June 15, 2015 escalator announcement of his candidacy,  showing a dead and flattened Trump laid out face down, but giving the "thumbs-up" at the bottom of the escalator.  
Television commentators presented criticism of Trump and the summit.  David Gergen, an advisor to four presidents including Ronald Reagan, stated "I've never heard an American president talk that way, but I think it's especially true that when he's with someone like Putin — who is a thug, a world-class thug — that he sides with him again and again against his own country's interests."  Fox & Friends, a morning program which Trump is known to regularly watch, was critical of Trump's performance, with co-host Brian Kilmeade speaking directly to the president, "I will say this to the president: when Newt Gingrich, when General Jack Keane, when Matt Schlapp say the president fell short and made our intelligence apparatus look bad, I think it's time to pay attention."  On MSNBC, Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks said that the Russian meddling attempts were as serious to her "as the Cuban Missile Crisis. or the 9/11 attack" and further stated that the summit will "live in infamy as much as" the Attack on Pearl Harbor or Kristallnacht.  Former national security advisor Susan Rice stated that the US-Russia summit was a bad mistake, citing many reasons, and that any future meeting would be premature. 
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, one of the founding editors of The Intercept, said that "90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are in the hands of two countries—the United States and Russia—and having them speak and get along is much better than having them isolate one another and increase the risk of not just intentional conflict, but misperception and miscommunication, as well." 
Trump viewed as being under Putin's influence Edit
The Trump–Russia dossier alleges that the Russians possess kompromat on Trump which can be used to blackmail him, and that the Kremlin promised him that the kompromat will not be used as long as he continues his cooperation with them.   Trump's actions at the Helsinki summit in 2018 "led many to conclude that Steele's report was more accurate than not. Trump sided with the Russians over the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Moscow had waged an all-out attack on the 2016 election. The joint news conference. cemented fears among some that Trump was in Putin's pocket and prompted bipartisan backlash." 
At the joint news conference, when asked directly about the subject, Putin denied that he had any kompromat on Trump. Even though Trump was reportedly given a "gift from Putin" the weekend of the pageant, Putin argued "that he did not even know Trump was in Russia for the Miss Universe pageant in 2013 when, according to the Steele dossier, video of Trump was secretly recorded to blackmail him." 
In reaction to Trump's actions at the summit, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke in the Senate:
Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous and inexplicable behavior is the possibility — the very real possibility — that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump. 
Several operatives, and lawyers in the U.S. intelligence community reacted strongly to Trump's performance at the summit. They described it as "subservien[ce] to Putin" and a "fervent defense of Russia's military and cyber aggression around the world, and its violation of international law in Ukraine" which they saw as "harmful to US interests". They also suggested that he was either a "Russian asset" or a "useful idiot" for Putin,  and that he looked like "Putin's puppet".  Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wondered "if Russians have something on Trump",  and former CIA director John O. Brennan, who has accused Trump of "treason", tweeted: "He is wholly in the pocket of Putin."  Former acting CIA director Michael Morell has called Trump "an unwitting agent of the Russian federation", and former CIA director Michael V. Hayden said Trump was a "useful fool" who is "manipulated by Moscow". 
Trump's followup Edit
The next day, Trump, reading from a prepared statement, claimed that he had mistakenly used the word "would" when he had meant to say "wouldn't", acknowledging Russian attempts at meddling in the 2016 election but denying Trump-Russia collusion.  Trump paused reading his prepared statement to interject that the interference "Could be other people also. A lot of people out there."   In the past, Trump had questioned many times if Russia was responsible, and on several previous occasions when he did say Russia was responsible, he also said that other countries might also have meddled.  The American intelligence community has consistently concluded that Russia was responsible for the hacking,   with three intelligence agencies having "high confidence" that Russian interference was ordered by Putin himself.  Trump then suggested on Twitter that his critics would rather go to war with Russia than see him get along with Putin. 
During an interview three days after the summit, Trump told CBS News that he holds the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, personally responsible for Russia's attempts at meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. 
Trump asked his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, to invite Mr. Putin to Washington, to continue dialogue that began in Helsinki. In a tweet, Trump indicated he looked forward to a second meeting with Mr. Putin "so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed" in Helsinki. 
Russian public opinion Edit
Survey results published by Levada-Center indicate that, as of July 2018, Russians increasingly viewed the United States positively following the presidential summit. 
Trump-Putin Meeting: Helsinki’s Cold War History
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold their first summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.
The meeting comes at a time of uneasy relations between their countries.
In recent years, the two sides have disagreed about a number of issues. They include Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict and its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In addition, United States officials have accused Russia of attempting to influence the 2016 U.S. elections.
Before Trump arrives in Finland, he will attend a NATO meeting in Belgium, and make stops in Britain and Scotland. Speaking to reporters before he left for Europe, the president predicted his talks with Putin may be the “easiest” during his trip.
While Trump said he “can't say right now” whether Putin is a friend or enemy, he did call the Russian president a “competitor.”
Helsinki has a rich history of high-level negotiations between the leaders of the nuclear powers. It will be the fourth time the top leaders from the two sides will meet there. Finland has historically been used as neutral territory since Russia was part of the Soviet Union. It was chosen as a place for the two sides to hold high-level talks on major issues.
Finland fought Soviet forces during World War II and signed a cooperation deal with the Soviet government in 1948. Before the Soviet Union collapsed, Finland permitted Soviet influence on its national and international policies, while officially keeping its independence.
The Finnish government sought to keep an even balance between the Soviet Union and the United States. Both powers used Finland as a base for intelligence-gathering operations.
Finland often offered Helsinki as a meeting place for negotiations between the Soviet Union and Western nations. In an effort to be seen as truly neutral, Finland never joined NATO or the Warsaw Pact, the defense treaty signed by the Soviet Union and its allies.
Mikko Majander is a Finnish historian. He told Radio Free Europe that Finland sought an "active policy” of neutrality. "Finland was between the blocs, East and West,” he said. “And by offering good services to international diplomacy, kind of strengthened its position."
Helsinki’s most famous security summit came in 1975, with U.S. President Gerald Ford and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The meeting resulted in the signing of an agreement known as the Helsinki Accords. These were a set of guidelines - including territorial issues and human rights – on ties between the United States, the Soviet Union and 33 European countries.
Brezhnev and Ford also held arms-control talks at their Helsinki summit. Then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger described those talks as "very useful."
Jussi Hanhimaki is a Finnish historian with the Graduate Institute of Geneva. He said the 1975 summit represented a "major goal of Finnish diplomacy in the early 1970s."
The next meeting of U.S. and Soviet leaders in Helsinki took place in September 1990. That is when U.S. President George Bush met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Their talks mainly dealt with a major international event at the time, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Two years earlier, then U.S. President Ronald Reagan, stopped in Helsinki on his way to Moscow for a summit with Gorbachev. During his three-day visit to Finland, he declared in a speech there was “no true international security without respect for human rights."
The most recent summit in Helsinki was held in 1997. It involved U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin. They discussed several major issues, including Russia’s strong opposition to NATO expansion into nations once belonging to the Soviet Union.
Finland joined the European Union following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but has still not joined NATO. It is now part of the alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, which permits Finnish troops to take part in NATO peacekeeping operations.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English. His story was based on reports from RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty and the Associated Press. George Grow was the editor.
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Trump on Biden-Putin Meeting: We Gave A Very Big Stage To Russia, And We Got Nothing
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday's edition of 'Hannity' on FOX News called President Joe Biden's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin "performance art" and that the United States got nothing out of it. Trump also talked about COVID origins, China, Biden, the media, and more.
"We didn't get anything," Trump told Hannity. "We gave a very big stage to Russia, and we got nothing. "
"We gave up something that was unbelievably valuable," Trump said. "I stopped the pipeline Nord Stream. And that pipeline was stopped. And it was given back, and nothing was gotten for it. And it was just -- it was another day. And performance art, you will take a look at how various people performed, namely, the two people. And you have to form your own judgment. It's not for me to say."
"I think it was a good day for Russia. I don't see what we got out of it," Trump added.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Mr. President (AUDIO GAP) your overall thoughts. And I want you to address -- I will get to a very specific question, but, first, let's start with your overall thoughts today and what Biden was facing in Putin. And then we will move on from there.
FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I guess the overall is, we didn't get anything. We gave a very big stage to Russia, and we got nothing.
We gave up something that was unbelievably valuable. I stopped the pipeline Nord Stream. And that pipeline was stopped. And it was given back, and nothing was gotten for it. And it was just -- it was another day.
And performance art, you will take a look at how various people performed, namely, the two people. And you have to form your own judgment. It's not for me to say.
HANNITY: Well, let me do -- let me do a follow-up on that.
TRUMP: But I will say that it was -- I think it was a good day for Russia. I don't see what we got out of it.
HANNITY: So, you mentioned Nord Stream.
This is an important question, because Joe Biden got a recommendation from his State Department. They said, do not grant this waiver. OK, Joe granted the waiver. He did it while simultaneously, with the stroke of a pen, eliminating high-paying career jobs in the energy sector on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Then I'm going to take it one more step further. If it was Donald Trump that did everything Joe did here, and then it was Donald Trump's son, Don Jr., Eric Trump, that had monies transferred to their company from a Russian oligarch, the first lady of Moscow, why do I suspect you would be accused day and night, night and day, 24/7, of some time of -- type of family enrichment and collusion?
I don't know. I think there would be a lot different coverage. Am I wrong?
TRUMP: Well, you just have to read the news.
Look, for five years, from the day I came down the escalator, we have been under investigation, and it turned out to be all false stuff. It was a terrible thing with the Russia, Russia, Russia, which actually made it difficult to deal with Russia.
It was a phony deal created by Schiff and Clinton and all of these people. It was a disgrace, an absolute disgrace, that it should happen. And it really was dangerous and very bad for our country.
But I guess you probably see. It was a few days ago up to 12. And now it's up to 19 different things where we were accused, and it turned out to be absolutely false, whether it's the Wuhan lab, the good old Wuhan lab. When I mentioned that, it was like a firestorm. Hydroxychloroquine, now great reviews are coming out on that.
They didn't want to see it, I mean, creating a lot of problems and death, frankly, death. And they were willing to do that in order to try and take shots.
But it's all coming out. I think the people understand it. I think that, in many ways, we're stronger now than ever before. They understand that deception and the horror that these people put this country through. It's really very sad, actually.
HANNITY: Let me go into this double standard issue that I have been discussing here.
And that is, you -- we went through three years, as a country -- and I covered it almost every night -- every major newspaper, two cable networks that are nothing but Democratic propaganda, ABC, NBC, CBS, they all got it wrong about Trump-Russia collusion.
But now we know the truth. We know that Hillary Clinton paid for the dirty Russian misinformation dossier that even Christopher Steele doesn't stand by and the subsource doesn't stand by. That dossier she paid for was then used to spy on you as a candidate, and a FISA court was lied to.
And then it was used again to spy on you in your transition phase and then as a president. And we also know that money from Russia made it to a prominent political family in America. That would be Hunter Biden's family. That would be Joe's son.
Now, again, I ask you. That wasn't the coverage for three years while you were in office, actually four, if you want to include Ukraine. What do you make of the double standard? Some people even got Pulitzers over such phony coverage.
TRUMP: Well, they did get Pulitzers.
And it turned out to be they got Pulitzers for absolutely incorrect and opposite reporting. It was horrible reporting. And there are many people that should have gotten Pulitzers, where they had it right, but they were not considered. And it's a disgrace.
And Pulitzer is another one that's been disgraced by this whole last four-and-a-half-year period, five-year period. But, literally, from the day of that wonderful ride down the escalator, from that moment on, investigation after investigation.
And the people that were guilty, they -- they just float right through. How it wasn't done, DOJ didn't do anything about it, I guess they felt they want to be soft. This group doesn't feel that way.
But you know what? I left that up to DOJ. I left that up to the people running DOJ. And I wasn’t involved. I would say that probably, maybe less involved than I should have been. And maybe I should have been forcing it. But a lot of very guilty people were not in any way prosecuted.
And I’m talking about very, very serious things. If you look at Comey and McCabe and the two lovers and all the things that went on, and they weren't prosecuted, if you read the Horowitz report, and, of course, everyone still waiting for Durham, what happened to Durham? How was that allowed to go into another administration? It’s just -- it’s shocking.
HANNITY: By the way, is he in the witness protection program? I’d like to know where he is, too. Is he in the witness protection program? I don’t -- he disappeared.
TRUMP: He seems to be gone. He seems to be gone.
And they were so -- but you didn't even have to go into Durham. You could have just taken the Horowitz report, and I have a lot of respect for Mr. Horowitz, the I.G. And he wrote a report that was devastating to Comey and devastating to McCabe. And they didn't do anything with it. It’s incredible, actually. Incredible.
Very sad. Very sad for the country. But, you know, I guess they felt they shouldn't.
And yet, this administration feels the exact opposite. If people don't do anything wrong, they want to go after them. Big difference.
And it’s -- you know, it’s -- it's a tough standard. But hopefully, you have an attorney general now that will be fair. But I will say that the people running the justice -- and the people in it, don't forget, you have tens of thousands of people, and they were put there by Obama.
They were put there by everybody. They were put there by a lot of people that came, including Clinton. But they were also put there by Bush. And you know, you see what goes on with that whole group. So you have a lot of people put in there by Bush and Clinton, you know, put there by Obama.
And then you put some in yourself, and you can't do anything about it, I guess, I don't know. But I think that they were very, very soft, and maybe rightfully so. But they were very, very soft. And probably, they wanted to be very fair. But a lot of people don't look at it that way. It's a shame.
There was such guilt and such a horrible thing happened. They were spying on my campaign. You know, if you think about it, all the way back, almost at the beginning, when I -- when I made a statement that my campaign was spied on, it was one of the biggest moments. It was -- nobody could believe it.
Then it turned out that I was more than spied on, much worse than being spied on. But they didn't do anything about it. And to me, that’s a terrible thing for our country.
HANNITY: I don't see that Biden got anything from Putin. And I can't believe that American energy workers were -- were -- with a stroke of a pen, lost their high-paying career jobs, for the same exact thing, the waiver that Biden gave on Nord Stream. I can't believe it.
Let me ask you this. If you were still president, would you have given that waiver? And secondly, what would you be doing about the cyberattacks that are ongoing, Colonial Pipeline, the attacks on our meat industry? How would you be handling that with Putin?
TRUMP: Well, on the waiver, nobody really understands that. I was the one that stopped it. I stopped it from being built.
And I went to Germany and I said, listen, we protect you with NATO at a very low cost. And they’re very delinquent. You know, they’re only paying half of what they're supposed to be paying. And what they’re supposed to be paying is very low, two percent, and they’re paying half.
And so, we protect you. We have 52,000 soldiers over there, which is like a major, major city, frankly. They make a fortune with us.
And then they go and they pay Russia billions and billions of dollars for energy. So I said, so let's get this straight, to Angela, I said, we protect you. And the people that we protect you from, the country, you’re paying billions of dollars, how does that work?
And there are others. So, I got NATO to pay $430 billion more than they were paying, because the United States was paying for almost all of it. I mean, think of it. We pay for their protection. And they -- excuse the word -- they screw us on trade. It’s the only word that’s really descriptive enough, because they are in many ways worse than China or as bad as China on trade.
How many Chevrolets are being sold in Berlin? Not too many. How many Chevrolets are being sold in Paris? Not too many. Maybe none.
And yet, we sell their products -- their wines and their cars and their Mercedes, and their BMWs and everything else. We sell it all over our country. And all of that was stopping. We were ready to go.
And then we got hit by the pandemic. And nobody did as good a job with the pandemic as we did. And that’s why we are leading the world in terms of coming back.
And that was all set long before Biden came in, including the fact that we came up with vaccines in less than nine months when a lot of people, everybody said it was going to take three to five years and you probably wouldn't be successful. And if we weren't successful, Sean, I'll tell you this, you would have another 1917 tragedy where almost 100 million people died. But we were successful. So it was a great thing.
HANNITY: Let me ask you, in your summits and in your conversations with Putin while president, what did you learn about him? Have you spoken to him since you left office? And was it a mistake for Biden not to hold that joint press conference with Putin?
TRUMP: I got along really well with him. Nobody was tougher on Russia, he would say that. But nobody was tougher on Russia. You never heard of Nord Stream. You never heard of all of the things that we did in terms of sanctions, so many sanctions. And I was loving the idea of taking them off. I would have loved to have taken them off as soon as they got their act together.
I think we had a, you know, great shot at having an unbelievable relationship with Russia. It could have been fantastic. It could have been really beneficial to both countries. You know, they need economics. And we need things that they have where they have very valuable land in terms of mineral rights and many other things.
And a lot of good things could have happened. I had a very good relationship with Putin. But nobody treated him tougher. He understood. Nobody ever heard of the pipeline until I got involved. And I said, wait a minute, the pipeline is going to Germany and all over Europe, what's going on? Why are we protecting you people? You know, again, and I just -- it was just unbelievable.
I got so much for that. And to give up the stoppage, I mean, we -- I stopped it. And to give it up -- and then if you see what they did -- and the number is really 48,000, not 8,000, but you see what they did with the Keystone XL Pipeline where they stopped it almost on the first day. And that was never mentioned during the debate.
I kept saying, you know, you're not going to be energy independent. You're not going to do for Pennsylvania, for Texas, for all of these places where we're doing so well with energy, we're not going to be energy independent in two months from now.
They're making windmills all over the place to ruin our land and kill our birds, to kill everything. And we're not going to be -- and they're very intermittent, as you learned from watching over the last four months. It's intermittent energy. It's not good. It's not going to power our great factories. And it's a real -- it's a real problem.
HANNITY: What did you make of -- yes, there was a question of what.
HANNITY: There was a question of whether Ukraine would join NATO. And Biden's answer is they have to clean up corruption.
HANNITY: And, OK, so they can't join NATO because they've got to clean up corruption. But his son made a fortune. And he leveraged a billion dollars and bragged about it, of U.S. tax dollars. And this is a big issue to you because you went over an impeachment over this. Leveraged a billion dollars to get a prosecutor in Ukraine fired. He got six hours to do it and son of a B, they did it.
Now, I'm just imagining if they're too corrupt to join NATO, how come it's OK then for Hunter to make all that money when he admitted on "Good Morning America" he had no experience in energy, gas, Ukraine, and got millions of dollars. What if your sons got millions of dollars for that with no experience?
TRUMP: Well, when he said that, I was very surprised that he said it because he said basically Ukraine is corrupt. And that was the whole purpose of what was going on. And, frankly, we had an obligation, even a legal obligation. And we have an agreement signed with Ukraine. And that agreement says you've got to be honest. You've got to run a straight country. And they don't do that.
And when I saw that statement I was surprised because I guess you hear different numbers. But it's $183,000 a month for his son to consult on energy from an energy company in Ukraine, to consult on energy. But he admits that he knows nothing about energy. The whole thing is just terrible. The money from Russia, $3.5 million from the wife of the mayor of Moscow -- the former mayor of Moscow.
What -- remember, I asked that question and your friend, your very dear friend, Chris Wallace said, no, no, you can't ask that question. I said, I want to know why is the mayor of Moscow's wife paying him $3.5 million? And Chris Wallace protected him because he couldn't answer the question.
So, Chris Wallace protected him. Good old Chris Wallace. He'll never be Mike. And it's just, you know.
HANNITY: Let me -- let me ask this then.
TRUMP: . this is what we go through. We no longer have a fair and free press. Whether you like it or not, and I hate to say it to you, because you're a big believer in the press despite what you go through, but we no longer have a free and fair press.
HANNITY: I said in 2007, sir, I didn't -- I wish I came up with fake news, but I did say journalism in America is dead. And I don't think I was wrong. I think I probably understated it.
Let me -- let me ask this, because, two weeks -- last week, Joe Biden said to our military that global warming was the biggest threat they face. The week before, he had said white supremacy is the biggest threat to America.
I don't know. I think China, Russia, North Korea, the Iranian mullahs might be bigger threats, radical Islamic terrorism.
What's your reaction to that answer?
TRUMP: Well, he said that the military told him, and the generals, that, which was -- I can't believe that, but maybe, but they shouldn't be working as generals any longer -- that global warming is the -- our biggest threat.
Now, when you look at China, and you look at the military apparatus, which I was really doing a big job on. I have a very good relationship there too. And it was a fantastic relationship, until COVID, where the China virus came in. And after that -- you know, we made a great trade deal, where the farmers of this country and the manufacturers are doing fantastically because of that trade deal.
Farmers are doing better than they have ever done now. That's because of what I did, not because of what these guys did. And we did a fantastic thing.
But when you look at it, and when you look at what happened, Sean, and you see that horrible -- that horrible thing that came at us from China, and came at us from the Wuhan -- the Wuhan lab, it changed my whole line of thinking.
And you just -- I really hope and I believe it was an accident, it was incompetence. I guess some people don't necessarily agree with that. They think maybe there was purpose to it, which would be absolutely terrible.
But we have to find out more about it. Why did it happen? How did it happen? How could anybody be so incompetent? And that is not a group of incompetent people.
So, you have to start thinking about that. But I.
HANNITY: But, Mr. President, could I add one thing here?
TRUMP: I believe it -- I believe it was a terrible accident, but I believe it came from the lab.
HANNITY: Why would you think it's an accident?
We all -- we knew -- there is actually video out now of bats in the Wuhan virology lab. We knew that they studied coronaviruses. And we now know from the e-mails from the great Dr. Fauci, flip-flopper, that gain of function research was being done there.
So, it seems like the most logical conclusion. The only question is, is there a possibility that U.S. tax dollars helped pay for the gain of function leading to COVID-19?
TRUMP: Well, we ended that, Sean.
And when we heard about it, I ended that. But that started in 2014 under Obama. And when I heard about it, we ended it very rapidly. I said, can you imagine? And it wasn't even Wuhan. It was just that we were paying China. On top of everything else, we're now paying for their research and other things. Ridiculous.
So, we ended that as soon as we heard about it. And we did a lot of things against China, not that I want to be against China, because I had a great relationship with President Xi, a lot of respect for him.
But I banned China from coming into the country very early, before anybody, Fauci. Nancy Pelosi was dancing in the streets of Chinatown in San Francisco.
TRUMP: And they were all saying what I did was xenophobic and horrible and racist.
And then they said four months later I saved thousands and thousands of lives. But I banned China from coming in. And it's lucky I did. And then I banned Europe from coming in, because you saw what was happening, especially in certain countries in Europe. And I banned Europe from coming in. And everybody said that was terrible.
But we saved tens of thousands of lives. And now we have to get back, and the schools have to get open. And, frankly, we're lucky we have the vaccine. But the vaccine on very young people is something that you got to really stop. You have to get back to running your country.
I mean, I don't see reasons -- and I am a big believer in what we did with the vaccine. It's incredible, what we did. You see the results. But to have every school child where it's 99.99 percent -- they just don't -- you know, they're just not affected or affected badly -- having to receive a vaccine, I think is something that you should start thinking about, because I think it's unnecessary.
HANNITY: You want China to pay $10 trillion, don't you?
TRUMP: Well, the number is much higher than that, but there's only so much they can pay. And that's to us.
And the world is -- the number is bigger throughout the world. Look, countries have been destroyed over what they did, and whether by accident or not. And I would hope that it was accident. I hope that it was through incompetence or an accident.
But, when you look, whether it was by an accident, whether it was -- whatever it is, this -- you look at these countries. They will never, ever be the same. Our country was hit so hard.
But other countries were hit much harder.
Look at what’s going on in India now. You know, they used to say, oh, look how well India was doing, because they were always looking for an excuse -- look how well India is doing. The fact that India has just been devastated now, and virtually, every country has been devastated.
No, I think -- I think that’s one of the reasons that I feel it’s very important to find out where it came from, how it came. I think I know. I mean, I feel certain about it.
But certainly, China should help. Right now, their economy and our economy are the two economies that are coming -- that are coming back the fastest. I mean, if you think --
TRUMP: -- about it, in certain ways, maybe they were -- they benefited very greatly, I mean, very, very greatly.
And I can tell you they benefited with the U.S. because we were in a process of doing things where we caught up to China at a level that nobody thought was possible. And once the China virus came in, we had to take a very different -- look, you know, the world changed. The whole world changed.
You didn’t think about the economics. You think -- you thought about saving people and saving lives. So, the world changed. It was a different -- whole different ball game.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this, though.
TRUMP: We did -- we did the great trade deal, a big piece of it, but we did the great trade deal. And it helped a lot of people -- manufacturers and farmers in particular.
But, you know, after -- after that horrible disease floated in from China, however it came in -- and it came in through numerous ways -- once that disease came in from China, I had a whole different attitude. It was a terrible thing.
HANNITY: Let me ask you about -- let me go back to the campaign, and I’m going to play a tape for you here. I’ve compared Joe Biden. I’ve shown video of him from 2012, 2016.
He -- I called, you know, he lived in his basement bunker throughout most of the campaign in 2020. I used to argue he was in the big tech media mob protection program. And they let him hide and get away without answering many questions, did the bare minimum of anybody campaigning.
And I have a highlight reel that I put together. But I’m saving that for another day. But this happened at the G7. Joe’s had a lot of these cognitive misfires, let's call it that. And this is the one that he had, because he had called Putin a killer, then he was asked about it. He didn't want to give that answer because he was about to meet with Putin.
And your reaction to Joe, and do you think he’s up to the job physically, mentally? Let me play this.
REPORTER: Vladimir Putin laughed at the suggestion that you had called him a killer. Is that still your belief, sir, that he is a killer?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To answer the first question -- I’m laughing, too. They actually, I --
BIDEN: Well, look, I mean, he has made clear that -- the answer is, I believe he is in the past essentially acknowledged that he was -- there were certain things that he would do or did do.
HANNITY: You know, I do make fun of it. But in all seriousness, Mr. President, that scares the hell out of me. Have you noticed the same thing I see?
TRUMP: Well, may be the only time I’ve ever disagreed with you is about the age, because I guess Joe is going on to be 79 fairly soon, and that's not old, relatively speaking. I know -- Bernie Marcus, a great gentleman, founder of Home Depot.
HANNITY: Oh, Bernie Sanders is older.
TRUMP: He is 92. He’s 100 percent. I spoke to him, he’s 100 percent. And other people are in their 90s and 80s and they’re doing great.
So, you know, his age is not the problem. And look, I hope he has no problems. I want him to do well. I want him to go out and do well.
I think the election was unbelievably unfair. But I want this guy to go out and do well for our country. I don't want to see a scene like that. I watched that yesterday. I thought it was terrible. It was terrible.
Nobody knew what was happening. We didn’t know.
HANNITY: Let me ask you -- let me move on to the economy. We now have inflation. We now have jobs that people aren't taking, and businesses now are turning down the federal government's extended unemployment benefits.
The price of lumber through the roof, the price of gasoline up an average $1.10 per gallon. The price to heat and cool your home is up. The price of meat is skyrocketing, lumber skyrocketing, every item that you buy in any store that is delivered by a truck, you are paying a lot more for.
And I’m looking at it, and we are getting rid of energy independence which you gave us as president for the first time in 75 years.
What is your take on the state of the economy and the impact the current border crisis has on it? And I want -- I’ll do a follow up on that.
TRUMP: So, the lumber is really a function of supply and demand. We have so much. But they're putting environmental restrictions on trees now that are so bad. And we're trying to make deals with Canada. I can tell you from personal experience, Canada is very, very tough. Canada is as tough as anybody. They -- it's very unfair the way Canada treats us.
And I had it down to a science. It was so good. It was so -- we were doing so well. Everything was coming down. We signed the USMCA, Mexico, Canada. But we were not being taken advantage of anymore. And I was going to tariff the hell out of their cars coming into the United States if they did. And they knew it. And as soon as I left, they started playing games.
And now you look at lumber prices, because we get a lot from Canada. And you look at what's going on with milk and the fact that they don't take us but we take them. So many things they did (INAUDIBLE) that I straightened out and now it's going back to worse than it was, because there's nobody there complaining about it.
Now Canada treats this country very, very badly. So does Europe, by the way, and China, you know about. But as I say, in many ways Europe treats us just as badly as China.
HANNITY: Let me ask this question. And I want to ask it and I'll ask you about 2022 and 2024 in a minute. It seems to me that conservatism, and I remember -- and maybe you do or you don't, when you were thinking about running for president, times that I'd interview you, in private conversations we'd have at the time, I explained what I believed in.
I really haven't changed much. I believe in liberty, freedom, capitalism, our Constitution, low taxes, less government interference, bureaucracy, a constitutionalist on the bench, school choice, law and order, safety and security so people could pursue happiness, free market solutions for health care, including protecting pre-existing conditions.
I want secure borders. I absolutely positively want energy independence for a lot of reasons, and free and fair trade, and peace through strength. That pretty much sums up Sean Hannity's philosophy. There was talk that you are considering maybe laying out the Trump "America first," "make America great again" agenda. How close is my lifelong-held beliefs to what you would put on paper if you ever considered it? And are you considering it?
TRUMP: Well, I am. And, frankly, if you think of it, that's all I've been doing and talking about for a long time. And I guess that's why we got them by surprise in '16, and in '20 we did much better than we did in '16. And shockingly, we were supposed to win easily at 64 million votes, and we got 75 million votes, and we didn't win. But let's see what happens on that.
The whole thing is shocking. But it's common sense. Look, when you talk about a strong military, when you talk about the economy, when you talk about we don't want inflation -- inflation is going to kill the economy. By the way, now you're going to see very soon a big interest rate increase all of a sudden, which is -- you know, that's step one.
I don't know if you remember during the Carter administration where the prime rate went up to 21 percent. I was there. I was -- I was there.
TRUMP: Twenty-one percent for the prime rate, just the prime -- and you couldn't get anything. It was -- the economy came to a halt. And, you know, when you look at -- you mentioned lumber, but when you look at we no longer will be energy independent within a matter of weeks, they're closing down everything. It's -- what's happening is not to be believed.
I'll tell you, the biggest beneficiary is Russia and Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. I mean, these people, they're going to make more money than they've ever made. You know, they talk about me with Russia, I get along with Putin. I had a good relationship with Putin. But I was so tough. Look what they've done. They will make Russia so rich because of what's happening.
When I left, it was $1.87 a gallon for a gallon of gas, now it's over $3. It's going to go up to $5, $6, or $7, mark my words. And that's bigger than any tax increase you could give. You could triple people's taxes, that costs more money for the middle income people, much more money. And for -- frankly, for our country it's a disaster. It's going to stop everything. And we had so much.
TRUMP: I mean, we had a point where we were getting the -- the fuel for zero. In fact, you get -- they would give you $38 if you took it. Nobody has ever seen anything like it. Now we had to straighten that out because that would have hurt our industry. But we ended up having a great energy industry. And we ended up with low prices. And now we're not going to be -- within a matter of weeks we will no longer be energy independent. And we are going to be relying again on the Middle East and Russia and all of these other people because we are being led very, very stupidly.
And I said this during the debates and people didn't listen. But I said it during the debates. But actually, people did listen, and they voted properly. And that's the way it goes.
But they lied. You know, they didn't talk this. They never said -- this is a Bernie Sanders dream, what's happening right now. He can't believe it, because this is far worse than Bernie was ever going to be. Bernie Sanders would have never even thought to suggest some of the things that are happening right now.
HANNITY: Let's look at the border. And the stay-in-Mexico policy is gone. Border wall construction has stopped. Catch-and-release is back. It's really just catch and we will send you to one of the states, free transportation.
You see we're -- you know, we're up dramatically, nearly 200,000 illegal immigrants a month. And they're just being processed. And that opens up other areas of the border for cartels, human smugglers, drug smugglers.
Your take on how to fix this?
TRUMP: So, we had the most secure border in the history of our country, Southern border, in the history of our country. It's never been so good.
It was hard getting it there, because we had to win lots of lawsuits. And that included on the wall. The wall would have been finished within months. All of the material is sitting right there rotting. They stopped it like very early. First, second, third day, they stopped it.
Now they want to start it again, which is interesting. Go tell the contractors that. But it was sitting there. And now it's sitting there rusting. And it's a shame. We were -- it took us two-and-a-half years to win all the lawsuits. And it was almost complete.
And then they came in, and they stopped it. And one of the reasons -- though, still, we built almost 500 miles of wall. And one of the reasons we have been so successful is because, even though it has gaps, which were easily closed, very easily, it has gaps, what happened is, the wall was so good in terms of illegal immigration.
And you mentioned things that people don't mention, drugs. Drug smuggling was down to the lowest point that it's been in years, and also human trafficking, usually of women, by the way. It's a vicious business, and it's a big business. And we had that down to the lowest point in years and years and years.
And now, it's worse than ever.
HANNITY: We have three minutes left. Let's talk about 2022, and then the obvious question for 2024.
2022 seems like a bellwether year. You have got the House in play. You have got Florida Senate seat, Georgia Senate seat, North and South Carolina. You’ve got New Hampshire. You’ve got Wisconsin. You’ve got Ohio. You’ve got Arizona. If that's not a bellwether, I don't know.
What do you anticipate your involvement for 2022 will be? You started endorsing some people. You are going to be out on the road. And what are your thoughts with 2024? Will you be making a comeback?
TRUMP: So, I'm very honored to say that my endorsement means more than any endorsement that has ever been given by anybody.
I mean, you know, we're winning. We just won Republican Party chairman of North Carolina and of Georgia and of other places. We just won -- there are two races in Texas. We won a great race in Louisiana. This is just intermediate to what's happening.
I will be working and getting a lot of great people elected. And, again, they go up 20, 30, 40 points sometimes. People -- the fake news doesn't like talking about it. But the numbers are really incredible.
So, I'm working on '22, getting a lot of good senators and a lot of good congresspeople elected. And then we will be making a decision on 2024. But, if you look at the numbers, people are liking me more now than ever before. But I think that's -- the reason is, they're watching what's happening with our country. They're watching no energy independence. They're watching the border.
Never has there been a scene like what's happening at the border, and the death that's being caused. This isn't just border. This is death and criminals pouring into our country. They're looking at the economy. They're looking at inflation. They're looking at interest rates. They're looking at gasoline prices.
And I guess it's making me very popular.
HANNITY: Is there anything -- and we have a minute left. If you do run in 2024, what might you do differently? What do know now that you didn't know in 2016?
TRUMP: Well, you know, we ran a very successful administration.
We had the greatest economy in history. We had 160 million jobs. We were never even close to that. Nobody was ever even close to that. And we did it twice, because then we did it after the pandemic. We came with a vaccine. We did a lot of great things. And we did it after.
But I was under siege with fake investigations and everything. And I was doing this while I was under siege from phony people with phony Russia, Russia, Russia that was caused by Clinton and the DNC Democrats and all of that.
And we did it. We built Space Force. We did -- you know, we did -- we rebuilt the military. We got the largest tax cut in history, the largest regulation cuts in history. Not even close. We did ANWR, which they have already excluded.
TRUMP: . thanks to Murkowski in Alaska.
And it's -- what we have done was amazing. But I was under siege. So, you know, some people said, gee, he wasn't very nice.
HANNITY: I think you can argue – I’ve got to run.
TRUMP: But I was under siege from day one, Sean.
HANNITY: But I think you have been -- I think you're still under siege.
But thank you for spending the time with us.
TRUMP: I am under siege. I agree with you on that.
HANNITY: All right, we appreciate you being with us.
U.S. President Joe Biden held a press conference following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday and told reporters taht he came what he "came to do." "I know you have a lot of questions so let me close with this," Biden said. "It was important to meet in.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed Black Lives Matter in the United States when asked about the treatment of Alexei Navalny and other political opponents in Russia at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday following his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. "Here is a question. What.
President Joe Biden apologized to CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins after losing his temper and yelling at her at the end of his press conference on Wednesday after he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva. "Given his past behavior has not changed, and in that press conference.
Trump has spoken privately with Putin at least 16 times. Here’s what we know about the conversations.
President Trump has spoken privately with Russia’s Vladimir Putin at least 16 times since he entered office in 2017. These conversations have long been the subject of scrutiny and speculation, given the Kremlin’s interference in the election that brought Trump to power.
Now, with Trump’s private interactions the subject of a broader scandal after the release of a partial rough transcript of his July 25 conversation with Ukraine’s president, Trump’s conversations with Putin are being viewed with renewed interest.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) has said that Congress is particularly interested in finding the records of Trump’s calls with Putin, especially if they had been stored in an unorthodox way. The Kremlin initially said it did not want the conversations made public, though Putin said Wednesday that he would not be against it.
Joe Biden Sides With U.S. Following Putin Meeting, Unlike Trump After Helsinki Summit
Unlike the controversy that engulfed former President Donald Trump during his 2018 summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Joe Biden presented a vastly different front when he met with his Russian counterpart for the first time on Wednesday.
Biden and Putin met in Geneva this week to discuss topics ranging from ransomware to human rights concerns at what leaders have agreed to be a "low point" in the U.S.-Russia relationship.
While the two did not hold a joint press conference after their meeting as Trump and Putin did when they met in Helsinki three years ago, Biden made his own remarks to reporters on the "productive" meeting.
The American president made it clear that he would side with the U.S. over Russia and every other nation, a different tone than the unexpected comments that came from Trump after his own summit with Putin.
"I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia or anybody else. It's for the American people," Biden said on Tuesday.
"It seems to me that we did speak the same language. It certainly doesn't imply that we looked into each other's eyes and found a soul or swore eternal friendship," he added.
Back in 2018, Trump shocked reporters and the world when he notoriously sided with the Russian leader over U.S. intelligence agencies, saying he did not accept Russian interference in having a role in the 2016 U.S. elections.
When asked whether he believed it was Russia or his own intelligence community that was behind the alleged election meddling, Trump said, "President Putin says it's not Russia. I don't see any reason why it would be."
Rather than defending U.S. intelligence agencies, as most Americans expected the then-president to do, Trump said, "I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. . And I think we're all to blame."
While Trump backtracked on some of his remarks the next day, arguing that he had misspoken due to a double-negative and that he did in fact support his own intelligence community, the joint press conference sparked uproar back home from both Democrats and Republicans alike.
Then-House Speaker Paul Ryan rejected the idea of "moral equivalence" between the two nations, while then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, "the Russians are not our friends and I entirely agree with the assessment of our intelligence community."
Fiona Hill, who was once Trump's top Russia advisor, said she was so alarmed during Trump's remarks that she looked for a fire alarm and considered faking a medical emergency to pull to put an end to the conference.
"I just thought, let's cut this off and try to end it. I couldn't come up with anything that just wouldn't add to the terrible spectacle," Hill told CNN on Tuesday.
Hill was among a group of Russia experts who reportedly helped brief Biden ahead of his own meeting with Putin&mdashperhaps a key step that helped Biden avoid a commotion with the press on Wednesday.
Although the Geneva summit ended much earlier than expected just after two meetings between the two leaders, Biden said, "it was important to meet in person."
"I did what I came to do," Biden told reporters at a solo press conference.
"Number one, identify areas of practical work our two countries could do to advance our mutual interest and also benefit the world," he continued. "Two, communicate directly that the United States would respond to actions that impair our vital interests or those of our allies. And three, to clearly lay out our country's priorities and our values so he heard it straight from me."
Biden said he would continue to raise concerns of human rights violations, saying the U.S. would stand by Russian activist Alexei Navalny and two imprisoned American citizens, Paul Whalen and Trevor Reed.
"I pointed out to [Putin], that's why we are going to raise our concerns about cases, like Alexei Navalny. I made it clear to President Putin and will continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights because that's what we are. That's who we are," Biden said.
Were there certain things that didn’t come up publicly? Any conflicts or arguments?
There were issues that were never resolved throughout the whole period of relations between Gorbachev and Reagan. Above all, this was the “Star Wars” program, or as we called it: the problem of missile defense. The Americans’ position was completely inflexible: under no circumstances would they abandon this program. This irritated Gorbachev. I even saw how he sometimes literally had to fight with himself about this. And tears would literally come to Reagan’s eyes when this program (to which he was very committed) brought negotiations to a standstill.
There’s a famous photo where they’re saying goodbye in Reykjavik, and Reagan says, “I didn’t ask you for much. You could at least do this and consent to the deployment of the missile-defense systems.” And Gorbachev answered him, “I did everything I could. I can’t do anything more for you, or for anybody else.” The exchange happened right there in the car, when they were saying their goodbyes. It was hardly a picnic, of course.
Generally speaking, it was under Gorbachev and Bush that we managed the actual process of reducing nuclear weapons and dramatically slowing down the missile-defense system. The Americans abandoned a lot of the aspects of this program: kinetic weapons in orbit, laser space stations. Reagan had believed in those things. Few people believed in them, but he did.
How Do I Love Thee? A Short History of Trump's Praise for Putin
Allegations that Russia helped lift President Donald Trump to the White House have cast a shadow over his administration&mdashand Trump's effusive praise for Russia's strongman leader Vladimir Putin has done nothing to dispel suspicions of a covert pact.
Trump's comments after speaking to Putin Saturday provoked a chorus of criticism after the president said he was willing to accept the Russian president's assurances that the country did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.
This is despite U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously declaring that Russia did interfere in the election in a bid to tip the contest in Trump's favor.
Below, Newsweek looks at a history of Trump's admiration for the Russian president.
Trump's first remark on Putin dates back to 2013, when Trump hosted the Miss Universe in Moscow.
"Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow - if so, will he become my new best friend?" tweeted the then reality star.
Trump's time in Moscow has become the subject of intense scrutiny, after a dossier on Trump compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele contained allegations that Trump had cavorted with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room &ndash and Russian intelligence had recorded the encounter.
Trump went on that year to claim that he had met the Russian president, and boasted of their relationship.
"I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he's very interested in what we're doing here today," he said on MSNBC of the Miss Universe pageant in November, 2013. "He's probably very interested in what you and I are saying today, and I'm sure he's going to be seeing it in some form, but I do have a relationship with him and I think it's very interesting to see what's happened."
Trump renewed his praise for Putin as he mulled a bid for the presidency.
"When I went to Russia with the Miss Universe pageant, [Putin] contacted me and was so nice. I mean, the Russian people were so fantastic to us," he said on Fox and Friends in February. "I'll just say this, they are doing &ndash they're outsmarting us at many turns, as we all understand. I mean, their leaders are, whether you call them smarter or more cunning or whatever, but they're outsmarting us. If you look at Syria or other places, they're outsmarting us."
Trump taunted Obama that year for being made to look weak by Russia in a March interview with NBC.
"And we have to show some strength. I mean, Putin has eaten Obama's lunch, therefore our lunch, for a long period of time," he said. "And I just hope that Obama, who's not looking too good, doesn't do something very foolish and very stupid to show his manhood. I just hope that doesn't happen."
That April, Trump backed Russia's disputed claim of widespread support for its annexation of Crimea that month.
Trump said at a New Hampshire event that Putin is "absolutely having a great time." He says "Russia is like, I mean they're really hot stuff" and "and now you have people in the Ukraine &mdash who knows, set up or not &mdash but it can't all be set up, I mean they're marching in favor of joining Russia."
That December, he warned of the effects of the Obama administrations sanctions regime against Russia.
He told Fox News that Putin is "wounded" and that "wounded people and wounded animals can do lots of strange things and we'd better be a little bit careful."
After Trump announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in June 2015, he boasted of his Moscow contacts as evidence of his ability to broker deals with Russia.
"I think I get along with him fine," Trump said of the Russian president in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper in July, and said if he became president Russia would hand over NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden.
"I think he would be absolutely fine. He would never keep somebody like Snowden in Russia. He hates Obama. He doesn't respect Obama. Obama doesn't like him either. But he has no respect for Obama. Has a hatred for Obama. And Snowden is living the life. Look if that&mdashif I'm president, Putin says, hey, boom, you're gone. I guarantee you this."
On the campaign trail, he went on to repeat his praise for Putin. That November, Trump had defended Putin from accusations he authorised the assassination of journalists and dissidents.
"He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country," Trump said in an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
He added: "I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so you know. There's a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, a lot of killing going on, a lot of stupidity."
And as Trump's campaign gained momentum, he was rewarded with praise from the Russian president. Putin described Trump as "outstanding and talented" at an event in Moscow in December.
In an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo, in February 2016, Trump renewed his defense of Putin.
Discussing the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko , a former Russian spy, and the 2016 findings of a British inquiry that Putin "probably approved" his poisoning, Trump remarked "have they found him guilty? I don't think they've found him guilty."
"If he did it, fine. But I don't know that he did it. You know, people are saying they think it was him, it might have been him, it could have been him. But Maria, in all fairness to Putin&mdashI don't know. You know, and I'm not saying this because he says, 'Trump is brilliant and leading everybody' &mdashthe fact is that, you know, he hasn't been convicted of anything."
However, as Trump came under increasing scrutiny for his warmth towards Russia, he backtracked on his earlier boasts about his relations with Putin.
In the wake of the hacking of thousands of emails from DNC servers in June, Trump said that he had never met Putin and didn 't know who he was:
"I never met Putin," Trump said. "I don't know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I'm a genius. I said thank you very much to the newspaper and that was the end of it. I never met Putin."
He also said, "I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly, but there's nothing I can think of that I'd rather do than have Russia friendly, as opposed to the way they are right now, so that we can go and knock out ISIS [the Islamic State group] with other people."
In the same news conference, Trump called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton's deleted emails as secretary of state.
In a presidential debate with Clinton that October, he again denied knowing Putin after his rival accused him of being a Russian stooge.
Trump said at presidential debate: "I don't know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. But I don't know Putin."
At the third presidential debate, Trump denied Clinton's charge he was Putin's "puppet", saying "No puppet. You're the puppet."
He further denied having met Putin and said that Putin had "outsmarted" Clinton and Obama.
After Trump's election, he continued to speak warmly of Putin, praising a "very nice and correct" Christmas card the Russian leader sent him, and even re-tweeting a quote by Putin taunting the losing Clinton campaign.
"Vladimir Putin said today about Hillary and Dems : "In my opinion, it is humiliating. One must be able to lose with dignity." So true!" he tweeted in December.
Intelligence agencies reveal their verdict that Russia was behind the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack, President Trump concedes Russia's involvement&mdasha claim he has since backtracked on.
"I think it was Russia," Trump said in a press briefing in Trump Tower, New York, in January, adding that Putin "should not be doing it."
"He won't be doing it. Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I am leading it than when other people have led it," Trump said.
After his inauguration, as multiple probes investigated allegations the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, Trump continued to speak about the prospect of better relations with Russia.
After meeting face-to-face for the first time at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July, Trump said he pressed Putin about allegations of election meddling, and received a denial.