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'An absolute disgrace': Republicans blast Trump for his 'disgusting' press conference with Putin

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  • Republicans blasted President Donald Trump for his remarks at a press conference Monday alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Republicans said Trump's performance was "shameful," "an absolute disgrace," and "moronic."


Republicans blasted President Donald Trump for his performance during a press conference Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

The press conference, which followed an hours-long private meeting between Trump and Putin, featured the president casting doubt over the US intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. He also attacked his Democratic opponents and the FBI, and said he holds both countries accountable for their state of relations while asked about the election meddling.

"My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, some others, they said they think it's Russia," Trump said, referring to the Director of National Intelligence. "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."

He cited Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denials of such interference during their meeting. And he seemed to endorse a plan Putin proposed that would allow special counsel Robert Mueller's team to work with Russian investigators to question 12 indicted Russians.

Some Republicans responded to Trump's remarks within moments of the press conference ending.

  • Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a statement calling Trump's comment that both countries are responsible for the state of US-Russia relations "bizarre and flat-out wrong."
  • "The United States is not to blame," Sasse said. "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."
  • Republican Rep. Justin Amash tweeted of the press conference that someone can be in favor of improved relations with Russia and with Trump meeting Putin "and still think something is not right here."
  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a golfing partner of the president, called the event a "missed opportunity" for Trump "to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections."
  • He later added that he would advise Trump to "check the soccer ball" Putin gave him at the press conference "for listening devices and never allow it in the White House."
  • Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has frequently sparred with the president, tweeted that the remarks were "shameful."
  • "I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression," he wrote. "This is shameful."
  • Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a close Trump ally, said in a statement that "Russia interfered in the 2016 election."
  • "Our nation’s top intelligence agencies all agree on that point," he said. "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."

Other Republicans called Trump's remarks "outrageous," "an absolute disgrace," and "moronic." A former chairman of the Republican National Committee even said Trump was acting like he was an "asset" next to his "handler."

Trump sides with Russia against FBI at Helsinki summit

Image result for trump + putin

US President Donald Trump has defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election.

After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote.

Mr Putin reiterated that Russia had never interfered in US affairs.

The two men held nearly two hours of closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday.

At a news conference after the summit, President Trump was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to the allegations of meddling in the elections.

"President Putin says it's not Russia. I don't see any reason why it would be," he replied.

US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media

What has US reaction been?

In a strongly-worded statement, US House Speaker Paul Ryan said Mr Trump "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," he said, adding that there was "no question" Moscow had interfered in the 2016 election.

"The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy."

Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Mr Trump had sent the Kremlin a message of US "weakness".

He tweeted: "Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections."

Fellow Republican Senator Jeff Flake - a staunch critic of President Trump - called his words "shameful".

In a series of tweets, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump's actions had "strengthened our adversaries while weakening our defences and those of our allies".

Some US politicians had called for the summit to be cancelled after 12 Russian military intelligence agents were indicted last week by US special counsel Robert Mueller, accused of hacking the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Speaking on Monday, President Putin offered to allow US investigators to visit Russia to question the officers.

He made it clear that, in return, Russia would want similar access to people in the US it suspects of criminal activity.

President Trump said Mr Putin had been "extremely strong and powerful in his denial" of any election meddling.

Presentational grey line

Trump targets opponents back home

Analysis by Jonathan Marcus, BBC diplomatic correspondent

Before their encounter started Mr Putin was already winning on points, by the mere fact that President Trump was meeting him in the first place.

But while Mr Putin came over as the seasoned professional, eager to present his country as an equivalent to the US in terms of being a nuclear superpower; an energy provider; and a key actor in the Middle East, Mr Trump seemed more intent on castigating his opponents back home.

A lot of the questions focused on Russia's intrusion into the US election campaign (the considered position of the key US intelligence agencies) and specifically the indictment by the Mueller probe of 12 Russian intelligence agents.

Mr Trump would have none of it. He visibly seemed happier with Mr Putin's assurances than he did with the evidence of his own intelligence agencies. And he even welcomed Mr Putin's suggestion that Russia could join the investigation and interview the alleged perpetrators itself! Washington's Nato allies and many seasoned observers on Capitol Hill must have been watching in horror.

Presentational grey line

Mr Putin described the Helsinki meeting as "candid and useful" while Mr Trump said there had been "deeply productive dialogue".

Mr Trump said US-Russia relations had "never been worse" than before they met, but that had now changed.

Helsinki protestImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionProtesters in Finland have been urging Mr Trump to focus on human rights ahead of his visit.

Relations between Russia and the West were severely strained by Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014, which President Putin acknowledged in the news conference.

"President Trump's position on Crimea is well known. He talks about the illegality of the Crimean reintegration to Russia. We have another point of view... that a referendum was held in accordance with international law. For us, it's a closed question," he said.

Both leaders also said they would work together to help resolve the Syrian crisis. The US and Russia back opposing sides in the eight-year-old civil war.

"Our militaries have gotten along better than our political leaders for a number of years and we get along in Syria too," Mr Trump said.

He added that the US wanted to increase humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

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Mike Pence: ‘I Do’ Still Want Roe v. Wade Overturned

Image result for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence are seen July 10.

From left to right, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence are seen July 10.

The vice president said Brett Kavanaugh was chosen for his “judicial philosophy,” not specifically to overturn the landmark 1973 case.

Vice President Mike Pence confirmed in a Tuesday interview on CNN that he still hopes to revoke a woman’s right to have an abortion in the United States.

Pence sat down with CNN’s Dana Bash to discuss President Donald Trump’s recent Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and the fate of Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 ruling that legalized abortion throughout the country.

When Bash asked Pence if he would still like to see Roe overturned, the devout anti-abortion advocate responded carefully: “Well, I do, but I haven’t been nominated to the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh has.”

Kavanaugh is Trump’s pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who resigns at the end of the month.

“I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” Pence continued. “I’m proud to be part of a pro-life administration that’s advanced pro-life policies. But what I can assure you is that what the president was looking for here was a nominee who will respect the Constitution as written, who will faithfully uphold the Constitution and all of his interpretations of the law.”

Reproductive rights groups argue that Kavanaugh is a clear threat to legal abortion. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would likely be the fifth vote on the court to overturn Roe. Kennedy historically protected the landmark ruling as a known swing voter.

Pence said that Trump chose Kavanaugh as a nominee for his “credentials” and “judicial philosophy” ― not specifically to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Bash reiterated her question, asking Pence if he hopes Kavanaugh will be the justice to overturn the landmark abortion ruling.

“The president believes that the proper consideration for a nominee to the court is not about litmus tests. Frankly, we’ve seen enough of litmus tests over the decades,” Pence replied. “What we don’t want is to have people go to the courts with a specific objective or policy criteria. We want people to go that respect the Constitution, respect the Constitution as written, will not legislate from the bench.”

Since Trump took office, his administration has rolled back access to safe and affordable reproductive health care around the world. Earlier this year, Pence suggested that legal abortions in the U.S. “could end in our time.”

“For all the progress since 1973,” Pence said in February, “I just know in my heart of hearts that this will be the generation that restores life in America.”

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https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mike-pence-roe-v-wade_us_5b460192e4b0c523e264ed2f

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