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Election Interference Takes Center Stage At Trump-Putin Press Conference47:54
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U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

With Anthony Brooks

Blowback and fallout after the Helsinki Summit. President Trump backs Putin over U.S. intelligence. We take a closer look.

Guest

Nancy Cook, White House reporter for POLITICO. (@nancook)

John Sipher, former member of CIA Clandestine Service. (@john_sipher)

Andrew Weiss, vice president for studies a the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and served on the National Security Council staff as a Russian expert under President Bill Clinton. (@andrewsweiss)

From The Reading List

CNN: "Trump declines to side with US intelligence over Putin" — "U.S. President Donald Trump, in a stunning rebuke of the US intelligence community, declined on Monday to endorse the U.S. government's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying he doesn't 'see any reason why' Russia would be responsible. Instead, Trump — standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin — touted Putin's vigorous denial and pivoted to complaining about the Democratic National Committee's server and missing emails from Hillary Clinton's personal account."

CBS News: "Washington reacts to Trump-Putin press conference with dismay" — "Republicans and Democrats alike are dismayed by President Trump's comments at his joint press conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Monday. Mr. Trump stunned onlookers by repeatedly defending Putin during the press conference from allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and casting doubt on conclusions to that effect made by U.S. intelligence agencies."

Reuters: "Shock as Trump backs Putin on election meddling at summit" — "On a day when he faced pressure from critics, allied countries and even his own staff to take a tough line, Trump said not a single critical word about Moscow on any of the issues that have brought relations between the two powers to the lowest ebb since the Cold War. Instead, he denounced the “stupidity” of his own country’s policy, especially the decision to investigate election interference following the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies. A prosecutor announced an indictment three days ago of Russian spies for hacking into Democratic Party networks."

Even for a president who often trades in shock and chaos, and who ignores the norms of politics and diplomacy, yesterday was something else altogether. In Helsinki, President Trump refused to support the findings of his own intelligence officials about Russian election hacking, while embracing President Putin.

This hour, On Point: Trump’s biggest crisis so far as his summit with Putin implodes.

— Anthony Brooks

This program aired on July 17, 2018.

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