President Trump Sides With Putin At Historic Summit Trump himself declared his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki a success, in what he called the "proud tradition of bold American diplomacy."The president said he pressed Putin about Moscow's interference in the election, but he appeared to take Putin's denial at face value, just days after a grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents on election-related charges. This episode: political reporter Asma Khalid, national political correspondent Mara Liasson, national security editor Phil Ewing, and White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe. Email the show at nprpolitics@npr.org. Find and support your local public radio station at npr.org/stations.
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President Trump Sides With Putin At Historic Summit

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President Trump Sides With Putin At Historic Summit

President Trump Sides With Putin At Historic Summit

President Trump Sides With Putin At Historic Summit

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/629583920/629587563" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

President Trump holds a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump holds a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, and the two leaders held a strange and stunning press conference at the conclusion of their summit. Trump appeared to accept Putin's denial that Russia had anything to do with the attack on the U.S. political system during the 2016 presidential race. And, Trump once again seemed to doubt the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

"I have great confidence in my intelligence people. But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," Trump said. "Dan Coats [the director of national intelligence] came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russia. 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."

Trump also attacked special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, calling it "a disaster for our country."

Read a transcript of the press conference here.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle sharply criticized Trump after his remarks. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called Trump's performance "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory," while Senate intelligence committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said Trump's remarks were "a breach of his duty to defend our country against its adversaries."

On this NPR Politics Podcast, political reporter Asma Khalid, national political correspondent Mara Liasson, White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe and national security editor Phil Ewing analyze the summit and break down the press conference's key moments.