'Utterly ridiculous': Putin denies USA election meddling in tense interview

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The 30-minute interview aired hours after President Trump and Putin held a news conference in Helsinki, where Trump repeatedly dismissed USA intelligence findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election and criticized special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's probe as "a disaster for our country".

Lemire asked Trump whether he agreed with the nation's intelligence community, which has concluded Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 elections, or Putin, who has repeatedly denied it. Lemire also asked whether Trump would denounce election meddling and warn Putin not to do it again, and asked Putin whether Russian Federation had gathered incriminating material on the American president. "And I think we're all to blame". As Donald Trump prepares to head home after three variously acrimonious, embarrassing and shocking visits to meet foreign counterparts, he will return to a country struggling to make sense of what he's spent his time overseas doing.

Standing alongside the Kremlin boss at a joint news conference, Trump acknowledged that his intelligence chiefs believe Russian Federation hacked and leaked Democrats' emails containing politically damaging information about his rival Hillary Clinton in 2016. "We haven't seen an American so owned by a Russian since Rocky IV".

Democratic California Representative Jimmy Gomez charged: "To side with Putin over USA intelligence is disgusting; to fail to defend the U.S. is on the verge of treason". The leader suggested a deal with President Donald Trump: Putin would facilitate an interview with the 12 Russian intelligence officers indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe in exchange for conducting questioning over cases such as that of Browder's. They never paid any taxes, neither in Russian army in the United States and yet the money escaped the country, they were transferred to the United States, ' Putin said. "President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today". "We are the two great nuclear powers".

Friedman calls for Americans to press Republican congressional candidates over Trump's comments, saying voters should ask, "Are you with Trump and Putin or are you with the CIA, FBI and NSA?"

First District Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree says the summit was "shameful", with Trump downplaying Russian attempts to influence US elections just days after a dozen Russian intelligence agents were indicted for those attempts. "The damage inflicted by President Trump's naivete, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is hard to calculate", McCain said in a blistering statement.

And former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan said Trump's behavior at the news conference "rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous". Not surprisingly, Hannity had strong words of praise for Trump, who in turn had strong praise for Putin.

What is less established is the extent to which the Russian government, not just Russian citizens with varying ties to Moscow, became involved in this effort.

Rush Limbaugh said watching the USA media cover Monday's Trump-Putin summit was "comedy gold", but added the downside of its ineptitude is so-called journalists can "wreak tremendous havoc".

The two leaders appeared relaxed at the Helsinki news conference, smiling on occasion, in contrast to their sombre demeanour at the start of the day.

Trump Takes Putin's Word for it on Russian Meddling in Elections
As he has done before, Trump attacked the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian election interference. Trump also said Putin felt "very strongly" about Russian election interference and said Putin "has an interesting idea".

Mark Simakovsky, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center in Washington DC, told Al Jazeera that the summit in Helsinki has damaged Trump's credibility.

Mr Trump has also been able to frame his closeness to Mr Putin as an improvement on his predecessor Barack Obama.

Hannity began the interview saying, "You literally just finished the press conference with president Putin moments ago".

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters gathered in Helsinki on Sunday ahead of Trump's arrival.

Trump also received backlash for the comments from his own party. House Speaker Paul Ryan and others joined in the chorus.

USA media have blasted President Donald Trump for not properly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit.

He added: "No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant".

[This] marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency.

'I think the world really wants us to get along, ' and added: 'I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship'.

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