Trump Putin Meeting
President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki Finland on July 16 2018, for a summit meeting. What was actually said in the meeting may never be known as President Trump insistenced the first part of the meeting would take place only between him and Putin. The real story of the meeting was the joint press conference afterward. At that conference, Trump stated that he believed the denials of Putin over the statements of the US intelligence services on whether the Russians interfered with the 2016 elections..
President Trump met with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki , Finland on July 16th, 2018. The meeting took place after Trump held earlier meetings with NATO and visited Great Britain.
On July 11 and 12th, Trump attended a NATO meeting. He started out by attacking Germany for its dependence on Russian gas. In the course of the summit, he insisted that NATO allies agree to increase their defense spending, something that they had previously agreed to do by 2024. Trump then left the summit early, announcing that the leaders had all agreed to his demands, leaving the summit in tatters, and leaving the other world leaders scratching their heads in disbelief.
From the NATO summit in Germany, Trump travelled to Great Britain. Trump avoided London where there were large demonstrations against him. He had a state dinner with Prime Minister May on the night of 12th. He then gave an interview with The Sun newspaper in which he said that May had made a mistake by not listening to him, and that she had decreased the chance of a trade agreement with the US. The next day at a Press Conference Trump said The Sun's interview was fake news (The interview was recorded.) In the course of the press conference with Prime Minster May, he said Boris Johnson (who had resigned last week as Foreign Minister ) would make a good Prime Minister.
Trump then spent the next day at his golf resort in Scotland. Before setting off to Helsinki, Trump was interviewed on CBS Face the Nation. He was asked "who is the US' greatest competitor who is the US' greatest foe" - His answer that stunned much of the world: "The US has a lot of foes - I think the European Union is a foe - what they do to us in trade..” He then went on to refer to Russia and China as competitors.
But perhaps the tweet that created the greatest consternation Trump issued on the morning of the 16th in which he said: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Thus stating that the problem of the relationship was all caused by the US and not by the Russians at all.
What went on in the one on one meeting between Putin and Trump is unknown. There is no precedent for a meeting like the one held by Putin and Trump. The meeting lasted for two hours. After that, there was a larger luncheon meeting that lasted for approximately one hour. After the luncheon, there was a press conference. The first part of the press conference was unremarkable with both Trump and Putin giving rather bland statements. They then opened up for questions. Jeff Mason of Reuters then asked:
"Mr. President, you tweeted this morning that it's U.S. foolishness, stupidity and the Mueller probe that is responsible for the decline in U.S. relations with Russia.
Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular? And if so, what would you -- what would you consider them -- that they are responsible for?"
TRUMP: "Yes I do. I hold both countries responsible."
"I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. We should've had this dialogue a long time ago; a long time, frankly, before I got to the office.
And I think we're all to blame. I think that the United States now has stepped forward along with Russia, and we're getting together and we have a chance to do some great things, whether it's nuclear proliferation in terms of stopping -- you have to do it, ultimately that's probably the most important thing that we could be working on.”
Once again creating a moral equivalency between the United States and Russia, and once again not taking the opportunity to criticize any of the actions of the Russian government.
Later in the press conference, Jonathan Lemire of Associated Press asked :
"A question for each president; President Trump, you first.
Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did.
What -- who -- my first question for you, sir, is who do you believe?
My second question is would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?"
TRUMP: "So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server -- haven't they taken the server. Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?
I've been wondering that, I've been asking that for months and months and I've been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?
With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russia.
I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be. But I really do want to see the server.
But I have -- I have confidence in both parties. I -- I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don't think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They're missing; where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton's e-mails? 33,000 e-mails gone -- just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn't be gone so easily. I think it's a disgrace that we can't get Hillary Clinton's 33,000 e-mails.
So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.
And what he did is an incredible. "
It should be noted in the course of the conference Putin admitted that he favored the election of President Trump over Hilary Clinton.
Much of the world was stunned by the performance. The answers of Putin and Trump seemed to be in sync one finishing the answer of the other. Trump stated straight out that he believed the word of Putin over the analysis of the US Intelligence community.
In the aftermath of the summit reputable journalist like Thomas Friedman and James Fallow were for the first time publicly floated the idea that Trump might truly be compromised by the Russians. So have Democratic Senators and Congressman. Republicans attacked the press conference as a missed opportunity but by and large avoided crticizing Trump.
This is a first take on events- it may need to be updated .