Donald Trump backs Vladimir Putin, not US intelligence, on election meddling at Helsinki summit.
Standing side-by-side with Vladimir Putin, United States President Donald Trump has refused to blame the Russian leader for meddling in the 2016 elections, casting doubt on the findings of his own intelligence agencies and sparking a storm of criticism at home.
On a day when he faced pressure from critics, allied countries and even his own staff to take a tough line, Mr Trump said not a single critical word about Moscow on any of the issues that have brought relations between the two powers to the lowest ebb since the Cold War.
Instead, he denounced the “stupidity” of his own country’s policy, especially the decision to investigate election interference following the findings of US intelligence agencies.
A prosecutor announced an indictment three days ago of Russian spies for hacking into Democratic Party networks.
Mr Trump’s performance at a joint media conference in Helsinki stirred a wave of condemnation in the United States, where the White House has struggled for months to dispel a suggestion that Mr Trump was unwilling to stand up to Mr Putin.