Donald Trump returned late Monday from his European tour to face ire in Washington, where USA intelligence officials and senior Republicans were denouncing the president as "shameful" and "disgraceful" after he refused to challenge Russian leader Vladimir Putin over interference in American elections.
Outspoken Kremlin critic Bill Browder on Monday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "playing Trump like a fiddle", and slammed the Russian president's accusation that he donated $400 million to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign.
At the presidents' joint press conference, Mr Trump said he did not see "any reason" to question Mr Putin's denial his agents were involved.
Trump's appearance drew an avalanche of backlash from both parties in Washington, with some United States officials going so far as to condemn his remarks as "treasonous".
Democratic California Representative Jimmy Gomez charged: "To side with Putin over United States intelligence is disgusting; to fail to defend the U.S. is on the verge of treason". Maria Butina, who purported to be a gun rights' activist, was charged with infiltrating the National Rifle Association (NRA) as part of efforts to influence the Republican party and U.S. politics.
With this tension, Tchantouridze says Americans should not be too anxious but he says do keep in mind that most of Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles target the Northeast, as they see it as a seat of power for the country. "Crimea is part of Ukraine", Putin said. When presented with the ludicrous suggestion of inviting Russian intelligence to participate in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe of that interference, he called it "an incredible offer".
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats distanced himself from his boss, issuing a statement saying the U.S. intelligence community's judgment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election was "clear". Putin asked in the interview, after Wallace showed him a copy of the indictments. "He said they were 'individuals" not acting on behalf of the Russian government or on his own orders, as prosecutors charge. I think that the United States has been foolish. He never mentioned his political ambitions.
All the while, Trump praised his electoral success and again denied any collusion with Russia, something Putin was happy to agree with, though the Russian leader did admit to a preference for Trump, who campaigned for better ties with Moscow.
At the news conference Trump was invited by reporters to offer even a single criticism of Russian Federation, but repeatedly declined. Many people, even those in his own party, took issue with Trump's believing Putin over the U.S.
While Trump was a billionaire, there are plenty of wealthy people in the USA, and it never occurred to anyone he might run for political office, the Russian president added.
"We don't have anything on them", Putin said.
But Trump attempted to keep the atmosphere upbeat, saying: 'Getting along with Russian Federation is a good thing, not a bad thing.
"We should have had this dialogue a long time ago. We did make a good start today".
"It's clear that the Russians have done interference in the US elections and they will do more such interference because it was".