CNN host Anderson Cooper did not mince words after President Donald Trump’s press conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader, really, that I’ve ever seen — an extraordinary press conference,” Cooper said immediately following the conclusion of the Trump-Putin presser.
Cooper’s summation followed the bizarre press conference in which Trump said he had no reason to believe that Russia had interfered with the 2016 presidential election — directly contradicting the findings of US intelligence agencies who have said definitively that Russian did meddle in the election.
In doing so, Trump was effectively siding with Putin — who had roundly denied that Russian meddling took place in 2016. When asked directly whether he believe the US intelligence communities or Putin on the question, Trump gave little doubt that he trusts Russia more. The press conference came just days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on charges of hacking emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said. He spent far more time criticizing the FBI and American intelligence officials investigating possible collusion between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
Cooper wasn’t the only media personality who panned Trump’s performance in Helsinki. On Fox Business, reporter Ashley Webster and guests including Mark Weinberg, a Reagan administration official, had notable criticisms of Trump — though none as harsh as Cooper’s.
Putin “outmaneuvered our president,” Webster noted after the press conference. “I was very surprised. I thought Trump was going to push hard.”
Reaction on Varney's Fox Business show after the press conference is critical of Trump.— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) July 16, 2018
Guest Mark Weinberg: "Putin won. Trump missed the opportunity."
Fox Biz's Ashley Webster: "He outmaneuvered our president. I was very surprised. I thought Trump was going to push hard."
There was also notable criticism from conservative commentator and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, who renounced his past support of Trump following the press conference.
“I will never support him again,” Walsh tweeted, later adding, “What you saw today was ‘collusion’ on the world stage.”
What you saw today was "collusion" on the world stage.— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 16, 2018