Even Republicans Are Furious About Trump’s Press Conference With Putin. Here’s What They’re Saying.

A politician knows he is in trouble when he turns around that there is no one behind him. President Trump, after his post-meeting press conference with Vladimir Putin, has no one watching his back. The President expected to be blasted by Senate Minority Leader Schumer and House Minority Leader Pelosi. He could not have anticipated that he would find himself under fire from his own intelligence chief, virtually every single major figure in the Republican Party, including some of the President’s staunchest defenders, conservative journalists and columnists, and even the daughter of his own ambassador to Russia.

Intelligence Community

Dan Coats, director of national intelligence: “The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers. We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

Congressional Leaders

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan: “There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I’ve said a number of times and I say it again, the Russians are not our friends and I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community.”


Sen. Richard Burr (Chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee): “The Senate Intelligence Committee has reviewed the 2017 IC assessment and found no reason to doubt its conclusion that President Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the 2016 U.S. elections with the goal of undermining faith in our democratic process. Russia has conducted a coordinated cyberattack on state election systems, and hacked critical infrastructure. They have used social media to sow chaos and discord in our society. They have beaten and harassed U.S. diplomats and violated anti-proliferation treaties.  Any statement by Vladimir Putin contrary to these facts is a lie and should be recognized as one by the President. Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been.  Nor does he want to be our friend.  His regime’s actions prove it.  We must make clear that the United States will not tolerate hostile Russian activities against us or our allies.”

Sen. Marco Rubio: “Foreign policy must be based on reality, not hyperbole or wishful thinking. And the reality is #Russia is an adversary. Because #Putin doesn’t believe in win/win scenarios & thinks only way to make Russia stronger is to make U.S. weaker. Any approach not based on this will fail.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch: “Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Our nation’s top intelligence agencies all agree on that point. From the President on down, we must do everything in our power to protect our democracy by securing future elections from foreign influence and interference, regardless of what Vladimir Putin or any other Russian operative says. I trust the good work of our intelligence and law enforcement personnel who have sworn to protect the United States of America from enemies foreign and domestic.”

Sen. Ben Sasse: “This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression, When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.”

Sen. Tim Scott: “The President’s summit in Helsinki today should have been an attempt at confronting Russian aggression, hacking, and election interference Russia is not a friend or ally. As Americans, we stand up for our interests and values abroad; but I fear today was a step backwards.”

Sen. Susan Collins: “It’s certainly not helpful for the President to express doubt about the conclusions of his own team, He has assembled a first-rate intelligence team handled by Dan Coats and I would hope that he would take their analysis over the predictable denials of President Putin.”

Sen. Cory Gardner: “Whether it be chemical attacks on our allied soil, the invasion of Ukraine, propping up the murder Assad in Syria, or meddling in our elections through cyber-attacks, Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains an adversary to the United States. I believe Russia is a state sponsor of terror . . .”


Rep. Trey Gowdy (chairman Oversight & Government Reform Committee, member of Intelligence committee): “Russia attempted to undermine the fundamentals of our democracy, impugn the reliability of the 2016 election, and sow the seeds of discord among Americans. I am confident former CIA Director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, DNI Dan Coats, Ambassador Nikki Haley, FBI Director Chris Wray, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others will be able to communicate to the President it is possible to conclude Russia interfered with our election in 2016 without delegitimizing his electoral success.”

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (chairman of the House Intelligence Committee subcommittee on the CIA): I strongly disagree w/ statement that Russia did not meddle in 2016 election. With all I have seen on House Intel Comm & additional indictments of 12 Russian officers last week, it is clear Russia’s intentions. President Trump missed opportunity to hold Putin publicly accountable.”

Rep Bob Goodlatte (Chairman of House Judiciary Committee): “U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed Russia’s actions, and the evidence is plentiful. Today’s summit was an opportunity to forcefully address this growing threat directly with President Putin. I am dismayed that we did not see that.”

Rep. Will Hurd (a former CIA officer): “I’ve seen the Russian intelligence manipulate many people many people in my career, and I never would have thought the US President would be one of them.”

Rep. Peter King (former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee): [Response to President Trump’s statement that Russia should cooperate with the Mueller investigation]: “It would be like bringing ISIS into a joint terrorism task force.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger: “The American people deserve the truth, & to disregard the legitimacy of our intelligence officials is a disservice to the men & women who serve this country. It’s time to wake up & face reality. #Putin is not our friend; he’s an enemy to our freedom.”

Rep. Liz Chaney (daughter of Vice President Chaney): “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.”

Rep. Justin Amash: “A person can be in favor of improving relations with Russia, in favor of meeting with Putin, and still think something is not right here.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik: “Russia has a track record of meddling in elections – not only ours in 2016, but around the world. I support the Mueller investigation in getting to the apolitical truth.”


Gov. John Kasich: “Putin’s words should never be given equal weight of our own Director of National Intelligence. Putin is a KGB operative trying to undermine the West and supporting other murderous dictators. He cannot and should not be trusted. Other American leaders, in both parties, should speak with one voice and let the world know we are not on the side of Russia.”

Mitt Romney: “President Trump’s decision to side with Putin over American intelligence agencies is disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles. Russia remains our number one geopolitical adversary; claiming a moral equivalence between the United States and Russia not only defies reason and history, it undermines our national integrity and impairs our global credibility.”

Supporters / Conservative Journalists

Newt Gingrich: “President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected—-immediately.”

John Roberts: (Fox White House bureau chief): “There is a growing consensus across the land tonight … that the president threw the United States under the bus.”

Neil Cavuto (Fox business editor): [After calling the President’s refusal to confront Putin about Russian meddling “disgusting.”] I’m sorry, it’s the only way I feel. it’s not a right or left thing to me, it’s just wrong. A U.S. president on foreign soil talking to our biggest enemy or adversary or competitor … is essentially letting the guy get away with this, and not even offering a mild criticism. That sets us back a lot.”

Brit Hume (Fox News political analyst): “Because Trump is unable to see past himself, he sees the Russia meddling investigation as only about him and the collusion claim, and thus calls it a witch hunt.”

Karol Markowitz (New York Post columnist): “You can love Trump, you can be thrilled he vanquished Hillary, you can be right that Obama’s foreign policy was clownish, but call it here: this was atrocious and no American president should ever behave this way.”


Abby Huntsman (daughter of U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman): “no negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.”



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