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Report: Trump fawned over Putin after meeting, said he was strong, smart, cunning

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trump putin helsinki
President Donald Trump and
Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press
conference in Helsinki, Finland.


Chris
McGrath/Getty Images



  • President Donald Trump reportedly told aides he was
    impressed with Russian President Vladimir Putin after their
    one-on-one meeting in Helsinki last week.
  • The Washington Post reported that Trump went on about
    how Putin is “strong, smart, and cunning,” and said he
    “relished” his interactions with the Russian
    strongman.
  • Trump was also reportedly surprised at the backlash and
    negative media coverage of the meeting, where he refused to
    condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump reportedly fawned over Russian President
Vladimir Putin to his aides after they met for a high stakes
summit in Helsinki last week.

The Washington Post reported
that Trump specifically admired how Putin is “strong, smart, and
cunning.” He also reportedly said he relished his interactions
with the Russian leader.

Trump stunned observers when, during a press conference after the
Helsinki summit, he refused to denounce Putin, declined to hold
Russia accountable for its interference in the 2016 election, and
suggested the FBI was part of a conspiracy to underine his
election victory. Instead, he touted the “direct, open, deeply
productive dialogue” he had with Putin.

In turn, national security experts said, Putin played Trump like
a fiddle.

Trump and Putin’s discussion in their private
meeting
has not been disclosed, but Russian ambassador
Anatoly Antonov said Wednesday Trump made
“important verbal agreements”
 on issues such as the
conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

“I think I did great at the news conference,” Trump told CBS Evening News
anchor Jeff Glor Wednesday amid harsh blowback from
lawmakers, intelligence veterans, and even some of his own
allies.

Since the summit, the White House has been engulfed in crisis
after crisis as Trump digs himself into a deeper hole vis-a-vis
Russia, even after arriving back in the US.

The White House or Trump had to walk back their remarks on three
separate occasions, and the State Department, the Senate, and
even Trump’s top intelligence chief publicly split with him over
the last ten days on the issue of Russia’s aggression toward the
West.

After he left Helsinki, Trump reportedly grew frustrated with the
negative media coverage of what he thought was a successful
summit, complaining to aides there was not enough focus on the
responsibility the Democratic National Committee had in the
hacking of its servers.

He expressed his
frustration
 Monday as criticism of his comments started
to emerge, stating his confidence in US intelligence, while also
arguing for a closer working relationship with Russia. He
repeatedly tweeted about the meeting’s coverage in the days
after, calling the media “the enemy of the people.”

Amid the blowback, Trump, in characteristic fashion, doubled down
on his affinity for Putin.

On Thursday, the White House announced the two leaders would meet
again in the fall in Washington, around the time of the
congressional midterm elections the US intelligence community
says Russia is trying to meddle in.

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