President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday has drawn much criticism. In a press conference following their meeting, Trump downplayed Russia’s involvement in tampering with the 2016 election, saying that both countries have “both made some mistakes,” according to People. Putin, for his part, denies Russian involvement in the election. The meeting, which took place in Helsinki, Finland, was a private-closed door meeting that lasted for more than two hours. Only Trump, Putin, and their respective translators were in the room.
Prior to the meeting, Trump tweeted about the U.S. relationship with Russia.
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
Russia retweeted this and added their own message.
Here are some highlights from the meeting in Helsinki.
The Trump “pee-tape” was addressed
Though Putin laughed about the alleged tape, which is said to feature Trump and two Russian prostitutes who he urges to urinate on the bed, he states he was unaware that Trump was even in Moscow. He stated that “I treat President Trump with [the] utmost respect. But back then, when he was a private individual—a businessman—nobody informed me that he was in Moscow.” Putin said the idea that Russian officials would bother collecting such materials is “nonsense.”
Trump’s supporters have criticized him for not denouncing Russia
Brit Hume, an analyst with Fox News (a network known for their Trump-friendly coverage) called Trump’s answer “lame.” Another anchor, Bret Baier, said that the press conference was “surreal.” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan released a statement regarding the conference. In it, Ryan states “there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.” He urged the president to remember that “Russia is not our ally.”
Putin admitted that he wanted Trump to win the 2016 election
During the press conference, Putin was asked if he wanted Trump to win the election. He said he did “because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.” Trump did not respond to this and has repeatedly denied Russian support. “Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election,” Trump said.
Trump also added, “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.”