CNN's Anderson Cooper 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 behavior.

"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."

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President Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in Finland
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President Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in Finland
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16, 2018: The national flags of Russia and the United States seen ahead of a meeting of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First lady Melania Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'KREMLIN PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) (L-R) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and his wife Jenni Haukio pose for a photo during their meeting in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First lady Melania Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND JULY 16, 2018: US President Donald Trump (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin give a joint news conference following their meeting at the Presidential Palace. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin react at the end of the joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
U.S. President Donald Trump receives a football from Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their joint news conference after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and First lady Melania Trump pose for a picture with a football during a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND JULY 16, 2018: US First Lady Melania Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and US President Donald Trump (L-R) after a news conference at the Presidential Palace. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump holds a football thrown to her by U.S. President Donald Trump during his joint news conference with Russia's President Vladimir Putin after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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The press conference occurred after Putin and Trump held a meeting in which they were joined only by translators. Trump was widely criticized, 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.

John Haltiwanger contributed to this report.

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