Trump Faces Scathing Rebuke Over Helsinki Summit — From Republicans

Senator John McCain called the meeting, “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

President Donald Trump previously said his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin might be the “easiest” but it seems he was gravely mistaken.

Trump’s performance on a world stage against Putin has been deemed an embarrassment and his apparent siding with Putin over his own intelligence officials on the case of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections has been termed as “treason.”

In fact, Trump’s meeting with Putin was so disastrous even Republicans have come out in full force to rebuke his statements made in the Helsinki press conference.

House Speaker Paul Ryan backed the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections.

"There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world," said Ryan in a statement. "That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence."

"The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy,” He added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Russia is not a United States ally but refused to say he would inform Trump of his disapproval.

"I've said a number of times and I say it again, the Russians are not our friends and I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community," he said.

One of Trump’s constant critics, Senator John McCain called the meeting, “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”



Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker rebuked Trump in scathing statement, claiming he made the U.S. look like a “pushover.”

"I was very disappointed and saddened with the equivalency that he gave between them (the US intelligence agencies) and what Putin was saying," said Corker.

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, issued a statement condemning Trump’s actions on the world stage and his apparent vilification of U.S. intelligence.

"This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression," Sasse said in the statement. "When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs."

He later doubled down on his comments in a tweet.



And the criticism over Trump’s press conference and bowing down to Putin kept coming in.

Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, called the meeting a “step back” in a tweet.



Trump’s attempts at equivocating Putin’s denial of the Russian meddling and U.S. intelligence reports did not sit well with many Republican lawmakers.



Outgoing South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy made it evident in his statement that he did not see Russia as an ally.

"I am confident former CIA Director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, DNI Dan Coats, Ambassador Nikki Haley, FBI Director Chris Wray, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others will be able to communicate to the President it is possible to conclude Russia interfered with our election in 2016 without delegitimizing his electoral success,” Gowdy said.

A similar stance was taken by Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins.



Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, lamented Trump’s “missed opportunity” to hold Russia accountable for meddling in the 2016 elections.



Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican, a long standing Trump critic, said Trump’s actions were “shameful.”



Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican and former undercover CIA officer, said Trump was manipulated by Russia.



Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger strongly rebuked Trump’s “disregard of the legitimacy” of U.S. intelligence and advise the POTUS to reassess his comments made during the summit.




Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also issued a statement backing up the U.S. intelligence agencies.

"Russia interfered in the 2016 election," Hatch said in a statement. "Our nation's top intelligence agencies all agree on that point. From the President on down, we must do everything in our power to protect our democracy by securing future elections from foreign influence and interference, regardless of what Vladimir Putin or any other Russian operative says. I trust the good work of our intelligence and law enforcement personnel who have sworn to protect the United States of America from enemies foreign and domestic."

New Jersey Republican Frank LoBiondo, like many of his fellow lawmakers, condemned the assertion that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 elections.



Republican Party county chair Chris Gagin announced he will resign from his position over “sense of duty” after the POTUS’ comments.




Trump, on international stage, said he found “no reason” Russia would meddle in the 2016 elections because Putin was very “strong” in his denial. Despite the wide condemnation from fellow Republicans, Trump refused to back down and tried to double on his statement.



Thumbnail/ Banner credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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