White House says President Trump's Putin meeting is part of 'proud American tradition' of diplomacy


The White House is billing President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a “proud American tradition” a day after he sided with the foreign leader over United States intelligence officials, who have asserted Russians interfered in the 2016 election.

In its daily newsletter, the White House doubled down on the President’s remarks in Helsinki, emphasizing his summit with Putin was “bold American Diplomacy.”

“Americans have no illusion when it come to Russia,” the White House Update continues. “President Trump directly addressed the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. elections with President Putin, and the Trump administration has implemented a wide range of tough sanctions on Russian individuals and entities.”

Trump during a wild joint press conference on Monday parted with his own intelligence community and blamed frosty relations between the United States and Russia on “both sides.” He also dismissed special counsel Robert Mueller’s collusion probe as a “disaster,” adding that he saw no reason why Moscow would get involved in the 2016 political election.

His remarks earned widespread rebuke from politicians and citizens across the political spectrum, though the White House newsletter did cite Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul to bolster their flowery version of Trump’s European trip — during which he criticized NATO and dubbed the European Union a “foe.”

“Dialogue is especially important when hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, as is the case in relations between the United States and Russia,” he wrote for Politico. “So I applaud Trump for both chiding our NATO allies and greeting its expansion with skepticism, and I applaud him for sitting down with Putin.

Trump thanked Paul for his support in a string of defiant tweets, hitting back at the media and his growing list of critics.

“While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia,” he wrote. “Sadly, it is not being reported that way — the fake news is going Crazy!”

Sen. Bob Corker, Republican chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, praised those on both sides of the aisle for speaking out against the President’s remarks. Trump “made us look like a pushover” he said, adding that Putin likely enjoyed celebratory caviar on his plane ride home.

“The dam is finally breaking. Thankfully,” Corker said in a tweet Tuesday morning. “As the president taxes Americans with tariffs, he pushes away our allies and further strengthens Putin. It is time for Congress to step up and take back our authorities.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan contradicted several of Trump’s Helsinki comments, saying that there is “no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues it attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. This not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence.”

One of Ryan’s predecessors, former speaker Newt Gingrich called on Trump to “clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin.”

He continued: “It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected — immediately.”

And Sen. John McCain, one Trump’s most vocal Republican critics, described the remarks as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American President.”