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Putin: Summit with Trump 'very successful, useful'

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Anderson Cooper

Toomey added, "Putin insists that the Russian government has nothing to do with meddling in our elections".

President Donald Trump called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling a "disaster" on Monday, again questioned whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election that he won and suggested he equally trusted his national intelligence director and Vladimir Putin - all as he stood next to the Russian leader.

Trump said in an interview with CBS News broadcast on Sunday that he may ask the Russian president to extradite the agents to the U.S.

A wave of condemnation immediately followed, with lawmakers calling Republican Trump "weak" and "cowardly", while Senator John McCain said the summit was "a tragic mistake".

After a journalist asked a question at their joint press conference Monday in Helsinki using soccer metaphors, Putin pulled out a red-and-white ball and tossed it at Trump, at the neighboring podium.

"We ran a brilliant campaign and that's why I'm president", he said.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford said he trusts USA intelligence teams "more than I trust a former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin".

Mr Trump confirmed that he addressed meddling by Russia in the 2016 United States election with his Russian opposite number, but the U.S. leader is not condemning Moscow's conduct publicly.

The two leaders discussed the right agenda: extending the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks treaty and beginning other arms-control talks; cooperating on stability and humanitarian relief in Syria, including Syria-Israel peace negotiations to stabilize their border; sponsoring contacts between the USA and Russian militaries to reduce unsafe confrontations.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman spoke to reporters today who asked for his thoughts on the summit where Trump sided with Putin over USA intelligence conclusions that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 elections.

Mr Trump would have none of it.

What has United States reaction been?

Amid the political bickering, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stepped in to clarify that the US Intelligence community stands by its assessment that Russian Federation did meddle in the 2016 election and that it (Russia) continues with its "pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, a Republican and a Trump appointee, responded to Trump's remarks and stood by the USA agencies.

In a series of tweets, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump's actions had "strengthened our adversaries while weakening our defences and those of our allies".

Coats added that Russian Federation remains behind "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".

Coats was joined by many former intelligence officials who went much further in slamming Trump's performance in Helsinki. "Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin". Republican patriots: "Where are you?"

The Russian president also rejected allegations that Moscow has collected compromising material on Mr Trump or his family.

Mueller's play last Friday to indict 12 Russian military officers in the attack on America, bulwarked with an extraordinary amount of detail about how that attack was carried out, couldn't have worked better.

'This was a very good day for President Putin, ' said Sen. Other billboards criticized Putin, with one reading, "Russian reporter who criticized Putin gains asylum in Britain".

He made it clear that, in return, Russian Federation would want similar access to people in the U.S. it suspects of criminal activity.

The Russian president made an "incredible offer" to allow Russian and United States investigators to work together on allegations of Russian cyber attacks, Mr Trump said. Maria Butina, who purported to be a gun rights' activist, was charged with infiltrating the National Rifle Association (NRA) as part of efforts to influence the Republican party and USA politics.

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