CNN presenter slams Trump-Putin press conference as 'perhaps the most disgraceful performance by a US president'
- CNN anchor Anderson Cooper called President Donald Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin "perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president" at a summit with a Russian leader.
- During the rare Monday press conference in Helsinki, Trump blamed both the US and Russia for Russian meddling in the 2016 election, slammed the special counsel probe, and appeared to undermine US intelligence agencies.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper called President Donald Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin "perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president" at a summit with a Russian leader that he had ever seen.
Immediately following the conclusion of the Monday press conference, Cooper opened his panel discussion of the event by lambasting the president's behaviour.
"You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly than I've ever seen — an extraordinary press conference," Cooper said.
Trump's press conference with Putin was the first between the US and Russian presidents in nearly a decade.
Trump said he discussed numerous subjects with the Russian leader in private earlier, including election interference, as he spoke of the importance of maintaining diplomatic relations with Russia.
Putin also denied Russia interfered in the US presidential election, contradicting conclusions from US intelligence agencies, while admitting he did hope Trump would ultimately win in 2016.
Trump did not explicitly state he believed Putin on the subject of election interference but did say the Russian leader's denials were "extremely powerful."
The press conference occurred after Putin and Trump held a meeting in which they were joined only by translators. Trump was widely criticised, including by former CIA Director John Brennan, for meeting with Putin alone.
Trump said that Monday's meeting helped improve US-Russia relations dramatically.
"Our relationship has never been worse than it is now," Trump said. "However, that changed as of about four hours ago."
This all comes just several days after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted on charges related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference. During Monday's press conference, Trump referred to the Mueller investigation as a "disaster" for the US.
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