Former Defense Secretary Hagel On Risks, Rewards Of Helsinki Meeting

Glen Norman
July 19, 2018

Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin vowed a fresh start to troubled relations between the world's greatest nuclear powers at their first summit on Monday, as the American leader rejected a chance to condemn Moscow's alleged manipulation of U.S. elections.

For Mr Putin, it came only three days after the Justice Department announced the indictment of a dozen Russian military intelligence officers on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets in the 2016 U.S. election.

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the press after a two-hour meeting.

"On the world's stage, in front of the entire globe, the President of the United States essentially capitulated and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin". While answering questions from reporters, he stopped far short of condemning Russia's meddling in the 2016 United States election and appeared to hold reservations against U.S. intelligence reports.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks to reporters Monday in Boston
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks to reporters Monday in Boston

Trump's foes at home have been scathing about his apparent refusal to criticise Putin.

He said Putin would deny any attempt to disrupt US elections.

Sasse responded to Trump right as the meeting with Putin was scheduled to start.

"Speaking of football, actually, Mr President, I will give the ball to you and now the ball is in your court". "This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves".

President Donald Trump said Monday he sees no reason why Russian Federation would have interfered in the 2016 election.

Trump is calling his meeting with Putin "a good start, a very good start for everybody" as the two leaders and their top advisers sat across the table from one another during a luncheon.

"I think the world wants to see us get along".

A number of German politicians share concern that Donald Trump would negotiate with Vladimir Putin unilaterally on subjects that might not be in line with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Trump received a football of the FIFA World Cup in the news conference. The US leader, bent on forging a personal bond with the Kremlin chief despite the election allegations, went into the summit blaming the "stupidity" of his predecessors for plunging ties to their present low.

KING: Now, just a few hours ago, President Trump on Twitter blamed bad relations between the US and Russian Federation on the Obama administration, as well as on what he called USA foolishness. "We love America and we feel like it's really important that all of us as Americans should come together and preserve the democratic values that we care so much about", said Julie Martinez with Bluegrass Activist Alliance. And that's despite what we saw just last Friday, when the grand jury handed up the indictments against a dozen Russian military agents and spelled out in great detail exactly what interference they did carry out. I think it's kept us (the U.S. and Russia) apart.

The two presidents have shared personal bonhomie in the past, but beyond the alleged hacking of the United States election, their countries are deeply divided on a host of other issues including Syria and Ukraine.

KING: All right. I want to ask you, Mr. Hagel, about the president's accusation that the Obama administration should've taken a more aggressive approach to Russian interference in the US elections.

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