John Kerry calls Trump meeting with Putin 'disgraceful' and 'dangerous'

Former Secretary of State John Kerry called President Trump’s appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin a “disgraceful” moment of surrender that is “dangerous” for the United States.

In an interview that aired on “Face the Nation” Sunday, Kerry tore into Trump for siding with Putin over the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and said he doesn’t buy Trump’s effort to walk back the comments.

“I found it to be one of the most disgraceful, remarkable moments of kowtowing to a foreign leader by an American president that anyone has ever witnessed,” said Kerry, the Secretary of State under President Obama.

“It wasn't just that it was a kind of surrender. It's that it is dangerous. The President stood there and did not defend our country. He stood there and did not defend the truth, he did not defend the facts,” Kerry said. “It's dangerous because it sends a message to President Putin and to the rest of the world that the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, really doesn't have a handle on what he's doing.”

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At a press conference alongside Putin after the two leaders met in Helsinki last week, Trump declined to condemn the Russia leader for the 2016 election meddling effort, or to publicly back his own intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia was responsible. Instead, he said “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia.

A day later, after an intense backlash, Trump claimed he meant to say “wouldn’t” instead of “would.”

Kerry said the claim of a grammatical lapse was not credible.

“I don’t buy his walk back for one second,” he said.

Despite the bipartisan criticism of his performance in Helsinki, Trump has invited Putin to Washington for a second summit in the fall.

Also appearing on “Face the Nation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that meeting should only take place if a new set of sanctions are imposed on Russia beforehand, warning that Putin has not been dissuaded from meddling again in the 2018 Congressional elections.

“If he does show up, we need to have new sanctions hanging over Putin's head,” he said. “Do not meet with this guy from a position of weakness. You need to do two things: You need to harden our electoral infrastructure. You need to be the leader of that movement and you need to work with Congress to come up with new sanctions because Putin's not getting the message.”