Offbeat As Trump says Putin 'not my enemy', skeptics in U.S. see danger

00:30  13 july  2018
00:30  13 july  2018 Source:   reuters.com

'What am I gonna do? He may deny it': Trump says he'll bring up election meddling with Putin

  'What am I gonna do? He may deny it': Trump says he'll bring up election meddling with Putin President Donald Trump said he would once again raise the sensitive issue of election meddling with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Trump brought up his upcoming Helsinki summit with Putin as he took reporters' questions at the NATO summit in Brussels. But he took a fatalistic attitude about what might happen.

By Patricia Zengerle and John Walcott. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In preparing for his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin , U . S . President Donald Trump has provoked a rare agreement among Democrats and Republicans alarmed by the possibility of a cozy meeting.

He’ s not my enemy ,” Trump said . Trump played down expectations for the Putin talks, saying he was not looking for firm results but “We’ll see what happens, just a loose meeting, it’ s not going to be (a) big schedule, I don’t think it should take a very long period of time, and we will see where it leads.”

In preparing for his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump has provoked a rare agreement among Democrats and Republicans alarmed by the possibility of a cozy meeting.

Sasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit

  Sasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Sunday night said he does not think President Trump should dignify Russian President Vladimir Putin with a meeting, given Putin's past relationship with the U.S. Sasse, who is an outspoken critic of Russia and occasionally Trump, took to Twitter with his take on whom Putin is and what he wants. Things Every American Should Know Before the Trump-Putin Helsinki meeting:1. Exactly who is Vladmir Putin, the Russian leader our president is about to meet with in Helsinki? And what does he want?It's a complicated question. But here's what we do know...

“We’ll see what happens, just a loose meeting, it’ s not going to be (a) big schedule, I don’t think it should take a very long period of time, and we will see where it leads.” Send to a friend. Close. Trump says Putin ‘competitor’, not enemy .

“Every time he sees me he says , ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Putin . “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”

While Republican Trump has gone softer on Putin, calling him a "competitor" and "not my enemy" on Thursday, lawmakers from both parties hardened their warnings to Trump before he sits down with the Russian leader in Helsinki on Monday.

"Putin is not America's friend, nor merely a competitor. Putin is America's enemy — not because we wish it so, but because he has chosen to be," Republican Senator John McCain said.

"It is up to President Trump to hold Putin accountable for his actions during the meeting in Helsinki," McCain said in a statement. "Failure to do so would be a serious indictment of his stewardship of American leadership in the world.”

Trump has touted the summit as an opportunity to reduce tensions, inflamed by Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, its military backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which turned the tide of the Syrian civil war in 2015, and accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Ben Sasse: Trump should declare Russia an 'enemy of America'

  Ben Sasse: Trump should declare Russia an 'enemy of America' A Republican senator is calling on President Donald Trump on Monday to declare that Russia is "the enemy of America and our allies."Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, responded to Trump's tweet ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which the President said the US relationship with Russia "has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S.

Donald Trump said on Saturday he believes Vladmir Putin ’ s denials of Russian involvement in the manipulation of the 2016 presidential election. Democrats salute week that saw emergence of an anti- Trump coalition.

Trump tweets: Can you imagine what Putin and all of our friends and enemies throughout the world are saying about the U . S . as they watch the Ferguson riot. So they all said , the media, they said -- you saw it on the debate -- they said , ‘you admire President Putin .’

U.S. lawmakers want Trump, both privately with Putin and publicly, to condemn Russia's actions.

Congress has taken a hard anti-Russia stance, nearly unanimously approving last year a tough sanctions law targeting Moscow. But lawmakers worry Trump will fail to take Putin to task, particularly over the election meddling, which the Russian leader has denied.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Moscow interfered and Trump has said he would discuss it, although he has stated both a willingness to believe Putin's denials and U.S. agencies. Trump has described a special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign aides and Russia as a political witch hunt.

"Our goal must be to demonstrate to the world that the community of democratic nations does not intend to accede to Putin's or any other authoritarian's view of the world. We will resist Russia's aggression," Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator Marco Rubio said in an op-ed in USA Today on Thursday.

Reporter forcibly removed from Trump, Putin presser in Helsinki

  Reporter forcibly removed from Trump, Putin presser in Helsinki A reporter was forcibly removed from the President Trump and Vladimir Putin presser in Helsinki, Finland Monday morning after he reportedly brought a sign into the meeting. The journalist, identified by CNBC as Sam Husseini, an op-ed reporter with progressive publication The Nation, was initially asked by security to exit the press room, and he obliged, according to CNN. When he was brought back into the room to retrieve his things, he reportedly claimed he got the boot because of a sign that talked about the nuclear test ban treaty. CNBC reports the sign — which read “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty” — was deemed a “malicious item” by Russian authorities.

Trump said at a press conference at the conclusion of the NATO summit. “All I can do is say ‘Did you?’ and ‘Don’t do it again. But he may deny it. You’ll be the first to know.” He added that Putin was “ not my enemy ” and “hopefully, someday, he’ll be a friend.

On Saturday aboard Air Force One, en route to Hanoi, Vietnam, Trump said of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’ s assault on our elections: “He just — every time he sees me, he says , ‘I didn’t do that.’

Senior Trump administration officials also have voiced fears about what he might give Putin to the detriment of allies in Europe, especially after seeing how Trump appeared to get only vague commitments from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their June 12 summit in Singapore to discuss denuclearization.

Trump declared that he had ended the nuclear threat from North Korea, but one senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said: "Who's to say he won’t come out of Helsinki saying he and Putin agreed that Russia no longer poses a threat to the rest of Europe?"


Worries over Trump's commitment to European allies and his deference to Russia loomed large at the NATO summit that wrapped up on Thursday. Trump claimed a personal victory after telling European allies to increase their defense spending or lose Washington's support. He particularly railed against Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump took another swipe at U.S. allies when he told reporters in Brussels that he thought his meeting with Putin would be "the easiest" part of his week-long European trip.

Putin says summit with Trump 'very successful'

  Putin says summit with Trump 'very successful' Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said his summit meeting with US leader Donald Trump was "very successful", following several hours of talks in Helsinki.The leaders touched on issues including tensions on the Korean peninsula and the situation in Syria during their first summit, Putin said at a joint press conference."I consider them (the talks) very successful and useful," Putin said, praising the "frank and business-like atmosphere" of the summit.He said Trump had raised accusations of Russian interference in US elections."I had to repeat what I have already said many times before -- the Russian state has never interfered and is not planning to interfere in the USA's internal affairs," Putin said."It is obvious to everyone that bilateral ties are going through a difficult period. However there are no objective reasons for these difficulties, the current tense atmosphere," he said. Putin suggested special prosecutor Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is looking into interference in the November 2016 vote, send Moscow a request to interview the Russians he suspects of meddling. In response to a question about whether he had wanted Trump to win the election, Putin said he did, because the businessman had pledged to improve ties between Washington and Moscow.Putin praised cooperation between Russian and US security services, adding that he favoured continued cooperation in "the fight against terror and ensuring cyber security".The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said separately that the talks were "better than super" in comments reported by Russian news agencies.

[ Trump says Putin sincere in denial of Russian meddling]. Both men were highly critical of Trump for not saying more emphatically that Putin was behind the Russian interference in the U . S . election, a conclusion strongly endorsed by the U . S . intelligence community.

Our democracy is in serious danger . believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says he is innocent of intervening in our elections — over the explicit findings of Trump ’ s own C.I.A., N. S .A. and F.B.I. chiefs.

U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, criticized Trump for saying that.

"The Russian president is a man schooled in treachery and espionage. He jails and murders his opponents, presides over a mafia state and he is an enemy of democracy. Why would a meeting with Putin be easier than a meeting with the allies that we rely on most to be a bulwark against him?" Flake asked in a Senate speech.

Putin won re-election for six more years in March with opposition leader Alexei Navalny barred from running on what he says was a false pretext.

Europeans and some U.S. officials are particularly concerned about whether Putin will ask Trump to suspend NATO military drills in the Baltic states on Russia's doorstep.

Another senior U.S. official said that if Putin came away from the meeting with Trump thinking he had permission to act in the Baltics, Estonia might become the epicenter of what NATO has helped to prevent.

Trump's assertion that Russia is a competitor and not an adversary is contrary to the judgments of U.S. intelligence agencies and his chief diplomat, Mike Pompeo, who at his April confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State, said the United States needs "to push back in each place we confront them," referring to the Russians.

While Trump said on Thursday that he expects the Helsinki summit to be "just a loose meeting," some at home are hoping it will be a "non-event" with nothing groundbreaking.

"Based on just the way things are shaping up, I think a non-eventful Helsinki meeting might be best for our country," Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, told Reuters.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and John Walcott; Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay and Arshad Mohammed; Writing by Mary Milliken; editing by Grant McCool)

‘Enemy of the People’: Trump Breaks Out This Phrase During Moments of Peak Criticism .
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