Fallout after Trump-Putin meeting

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Brian Ries and Sheena McKenzie, CNN

Updated 9:56 p.m. ET, July 17, 2018
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9:09 a.m. ET, July 17, 2018

Trump thanks Rand Paul for coming to his defense amid Putin meeting fallout

President Trump just sent Rand Paul a thank you note via Twitter for the Kentucky senator's defense of his highly controversial remarks at the Putin press conference.

Trump tweeted:

What Rand Paul said: Republican Sen. Rand Paul said on Monday that the conversation around Russian interference in the 2016 US election and President Donald Trump's break with the intelligence community on the issue was misdirected and animated by anti-Trump animus. "Any country that can spy does, and any country that can meddle in foreign elections does," the Kentucky Republican said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

He continued, "All countries are doing this, but we've elevated this to a higher degree, and we've made this all about the sour grapes of Hillary Clinton losing the election, and it's all about partisan politics now. This is truly the Trump derangement syndrome that motivates all of this."


8:41 a.m. ET, July 17, 2018

Scaramucci: Trump "has to reverse course immediately" after Russia press conference

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci called on President Donald Trump to "reverse course immediately" and walk back some of his statements made during his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Trump's made a very big mistake here. He's got to reverse course immediately," Scaramucci said Tuesday in an interview with CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."

He added, "If you're loyal to the President —which I happen to be very loyal to the President— loyalty right now requires you to tell the truth and sit with him and explain to him the optics of the situation, why the optics are bad."


8:28 a.m. ET, July 17, 2018

Trump caved spectacularly to Putin. Here's what might happen next

Analysis by Stephen Collinson

For as long as history remembers Donald Trump, it will be a day that will live in infamy.

The President's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday is already one of the most notorious moments in the tortured relations between Washington and Moscow.

Trump's humiliation is taking its place alongside John Kennedy's bruising at the hands of Nikita Khrushchev, and George W. Bush staring into Putin's eyes and getting a sense of his soul.

Like those moments in US-Russia summit lore, the events that unfolded Monday are likely to have significant and unpredictable political and geopolitical reverberations in the United States and around the world.

Trump's favoring of Putin's denial of election interference accusations leveled by the US intelligence community was not just the most abject display given by any President overseas, it may be the moment that finally validated claims that Trump prizes his own interests above those of America.

The most obvious question -- why did Trump cave so spectacularly to Putin -- is likely to remain cloudy going forward, at least unless special counsel Robert Mueller finds evidence the President is beholden to the Russian leader.

But there are going to be profound consequences in Washington and beyond.

Here is what may happen next.

8:57 p.m. ET, July 16, 2018

Trump and Putin met in Helsinki today. Here's how it went down.

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland, today during an extraordinary summit. Here's everything you need to know:

  • The meeting: Trump and Putin had a one-on-one meeting that lasted more than 90 minutes. The two leaders then sat down for a bilateral meeting and working lunch before they delivered remarks at a joint news conference.
  • The news conference: Standing next to Putin, Trump declined to side with US intelligence on election interference, saying he doesn't "see any reason why" Russia would be responsible. He also insisted that he ran a "clean campaign" and there was no collusion. Putin denied Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. During the presser, Putin also handed Trump a soccer ball as a ceremonial gift.
  • The reaction: Both Democrats and Republicans were quick to rebuke Trump's performance and his refusal to call Putin out for interfering in the US election. Some Republicans in both the House and Senate — even some typically seen as allies to the President — said in the hours following the news conference that they were concerned over what they heard. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said the President "made us look like a pushover" and that Putin was probably eating caviar on the plane home. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump "took the word of the KGB over the men and women of the CIA."
  • What the intelligence community said: Former CIA Director John Brennan called Trump's performance "nothing short of treasonous." Without consulting the White House, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats reasserted the intelligence community's assessment that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election.
8:23 p.m. ET, July 16, 2018

Former National Security Council spokesperson cancels CNN interview because he can't defend Trump today

From CNN's Susie Xu

Michael Anton, former National Security Council spokesperson under President Trump, canceled his long-scheduled appearance tonight on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront because he said he couldn’t defend Trump today.

He had been scheduled for a couple of weeks to be on the show to talk about the summit, Burnett said.

She said Anton told CNN, "He just couldn't do it so he couldn't come on."

7:51 p.m. ET, July 16, 2018

This Republican congressman refuses to criticize Trump over Putin presser

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, the head of the House Freedom Caucus, declined to criticize President Trump for his comments today about Russian election meddling.

Meadows was one of the few Republicans on Capitol Hill to defend Trump’s comments.

"You’ve got to look at the backdrop that we’re talking about here," he said. "The backdrop we’re talking about is that with 12 indictments that came out while the President was on his way to Russia, everyone wanted to put that this is evidence of collusion this is why you have to make sure you reign it in. In fact, it was none of that. It had nothing to do with collusion, the information that came out in the indictments really should have been a yawn. We’ve known about some of this stuff for a long time."

“To suggest that Russia changed the election outcome is not something I ascribe to, and quite frankly not something most Americans ascribe to,” he added.

Meadows said he has faith in both Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“To draw far-reaching conclusions from a press conference, I don’t think is indicative where we are as a nation, where this president is or what actions are required on our part,” he said.


7:45 p.m. ET, July 16, 2018

Senators explore new measure to express support for intelligence community

From CNN's Manu Raju

Talks have begun on Capitol Hill to reaffirm support in the Senate for the intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the US elections, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told CNN.

The discussions have only just begun, but GOP lawmakers are discussing putting together a measure that would clearly state support for the unanimous conclusion within the intelligence community that Russia was behind the 2016 attacks on the US elections.

"There's some discussion about what we might be able to do to let the community know we are supportive of them and their efforts — and not be confused by any of this," the Texas Republican said in an interview after President Trump's remarks in Helsinki today.

During a news conference earlier today, Trump declined to endorse the US government's assessment, saying he doesn't "see any reason why" Russia would be responsible for the 2016 attacks.

If the Senate plan comes together, it could amount to the third symbolic rebuke of Trump:

  1. Last week, the Senate voted on a non-binding resolution reaffirming support for NATO, just as Trump levied fierce attacks against the alliance.
  2. Then, the Senate voted overwhelmingly calling on Congress to have a role when the President cites national security as a reason for imposing tariffs, as he's done on Europe, Mexico and Canada.

Cornyn said it's possible senators may put together another "sense of the Senate" resolution, which would not be binding but would allow the GOP-led chamber to formally register its objections with Trump's stunning comments alongside Putin.

"I don't know what the President's mental calculation was in giving Putin a pass," Cornyn said. "But there's no question in my mind that Putin was responsible."
7:31 p.m. ET, July 16, 2018

Putin downplays hackers' role in election attack

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Russian President Vladimir Putin downplayed the role hackers might have played in the US election since the information they stole revealed accurate information about the Democratic Party.

"Was there any false information planted? No, it wasn't," Putin said in an interview with Fox News. "These hackers...they hacked a certain email account and there was an information about manipulation conducted within the Democratic Party to incline the process in favor of one candidate and as far as I know the entire party leadership resigned."

Pressed multiple times, Putin didn't outright deny Russian involvement in the hack, but said instead the information was important for voters.

"They admitted the fact of their manipulation, so that's one thing. Manipulation of the public opinion should stop and an apology should be made to the public at large instead of looking for those responsible or the party at fault," he said.

"The information that I am aware of, there is nothing false about it, every single grain of it is true. And the Democratic leadership admitted it," Putin added.

7:12 p.m. ET, July 16, 2018

President Trump will meet with members of Congress tomorrow

President Trump will have a closed meeting with members of Congress tomorrow, a day after his controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The topic of the meeting is not yet disclosed.