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"We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security", Mr Coats said. He claimed Mr Obama "was informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn't happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it". "But our cooperation between the two countries has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives", said Trump.
Responding to a question here about interference in the 2016 election, Russian President Vladimir Putin distilled his worldview: "You can't believe anyone".
"Yeah. Yeah, I do", Colbert said.
In the past week I have asked two senior, retired USA intelligence officers who spent most of their careers focused on Russian Federation how they would characterise the Putin-Trump relationship.
The mainstream U.S. media also expressed outrage.
Some career diplomats also expressed alarm.
Coats responded hours after Trump, standing alongside Putin in Helsinki, said that "my people" including Coats, "came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russian Federation".
"I have confidence in both parties", Trump said.
"However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we can not exclusively focus on the past - as the world's two largest nuclear powers, we must get along". On Twitter former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan called Trump's behavior "nothing short of treasonous".
Other congressional Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who until now had issued only muted criticism of Trump's attitude toward Russian Federation, were more critical on Monday. The US president echoed the remarks, saying the meeting was a "really good start for everyone".
Russia's constant denials, whether it be in regards to its involvement in Syria's civil war or its meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, have become relatively predictable and has stoked bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill.
Spokespeople for the Justice Department and Mueller declined to comment on Trump's comments or on Putin's purported offers for assistance.
Months later, Trump said he fired FBI Director James Comey because of the lingering investigation into Russian meddling and possible collusion with elements of Trump's campaign. Trump and White House officials at the time weren't even sure notes were taken. It gave no further details. Contrast Trump's reluctance in Helsinki to criticize Putin or any Russian misbehavior with his eager readiness to criticize allies [at last week's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit] in Brussels, particularly Germany and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, over defense spending, plus his London interview in which he put the European Union at the top of his list of foes of the United States.
The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted back: "We agree". I thought we were doing horribly before today. The two leaders discussed a range of issues including the 2016 United States election collusion. "It's a shame that there could even be a little bit of a cloud over it".
"What vehicle will Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) use to move around Helsinki?" an interviewer for pro-Kremlin broadcaster RT asked Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in an interview published on Monday.
President Putin and President Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki on July 16, 2018.
"I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics", he said, adding that a productive dialogue is not only good for the U.S. and Russian Federation, but is also good for the world.
Trump's European trip has, by many accounts, been a complete disaster.
Donald Trump has told the Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity it's "a shame" that he and Vladimir Putin were asked questions about the Russian Federation probe during their summit in Helsinki. The vehicle that then whizzed Mr Putin through Helsinki's blocked-off streets also symbolised the rising global prestige that Mr Putin has cast himself as bestowing upon Russian Federation.
Was it the USA invasion of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have that plunged us into endless wars of the Middle East?
What is less established is the extent to which the Russian government, not just Russian citizens with varying ties to Moscow, became involved in this effort.
Trump said he had discussed the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel "in pretty strong tones".
"We don't have anything on them, and there can't be anything on them", he said. And it will likely embolden Putin, who faced no pushback from Trump over the election allegations or a long list of other Kremlin actions, ranging from Syria to Ukraine.
Mueller's office has tried to serve summonses on the defendants demanding that they appear in court, but prosecutors say the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russian Federation declined to accept the summonses.