Maryland Gov. Hogan criticizes Trump, calls Putin a 'thug'

Russian prosecutors want to question US intel agents

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

He said that while he has "great confidence" in his intelligence officers, "President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial" that it directly involved Russian Federation.

In all, Trump's remarks amounted to an unprecedented embrace of a man who for years has been isolated by the US and Western allies for actions in Ukraine, Syria and beyond.

"The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers", Coats said.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the Russians "were relentless in their efforts to meddle in the 2016 elections, and their efforts are ongoing".

Trump earned some of the worst reviews of his presidency on Monday with his deferential appearance at a press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, during which he credulously accepted Putin's denial of hacking the 2016 elections, siding with the Russian autocrat over US intelligence agencies. The president of the United States, then, "twisted himself in knots to take Putin's side".

In Helsinki, Putin said he did indeed want to Trump to win in 2016 - because of his policies - but took no action to make it happen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said Trump made the US "look like a pushover". "The damage inflicted by President Trump's naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is hard to calculate. This was a very good day for President Putin".

Republican politicians in the United States have joined the Democrats and intelligence officials in denouncing President Donald Trump's failure to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin over interference in the USA elections, calling his response as "shameful" and "disgraceful".

The political firestorm over his performance at the Helsinki news conference has engulfed the administration and spread to his fellow Republicans, eclipsing most of the frequent controversies that have erupted during Trump's turbulent 18 months in office.

He also said that "we now know beyond a treasonable doubt" that Putin "has an incriminating video of Donald Trump".

The news conference, televised on the nation's biggest broadcast and cable news networks, drew strong reaction from commentators after it was over.

Trump stunned the world by shying away from criticizing the Russian leader for Moscow's actions to undermine the election and cast doubt on US intelligence agencies, prompting calls by some USA lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to punish Russia. Trump denies collusion, as he did repeatedly from the podium in Helsinki.

Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan said earlier: "Let's be very clear - Russian Federation meddled in our election".

The Wisconsin Republican says the American intelligence community and the House Intelligence Committee agree that Russian Federation interfered in the election.

And unlike the president, Ryan warned that Russian Federation would do it again and must be stopped. "The United States must stand from a position of strength in our relationship with Russian Federation and in defense of our allies and shared values", Risch replied via email to several questions from the Statesman about Trump's and Putin's remarks. But Mr Trump's hold on the GOP is being put to the test by his willingness to align with Mr Putin, a leader whom Republicans routinely describe as an enemy of the United States.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday that Russian Federation "did meddle with our elections" and said he would consider further sanctions against Moscow.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY said Americans had "never seen a president of the United States support an American adversary the way" Trump did at the conference.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Trump's remarks on his European trip, including Monday's news conference, have strengthened America's adversaries.

An Idaho senator who is next in line to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee does not buy Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial that his country meddled in the 2016 US election.

After all, that was the ultimate goal of Russia's election meddling, US officials have assessed.

Despite Trump's assertion that Putin has offered a hand, Mueller's office has suggested that the Kremlin has been less than forthcoming in another criminal case brought against Russian individuals.

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