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WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is unbowed by bipartisan criticism of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a Tuesday tweet the President calls the Monday summit in Helsinki “even better” than his meeting with NATO allies last week in Brussels.
Trump is facing bipartisan criticism for his refusal to publicly challenge Putin over Russia’s election hacking and for doubting U.S. intelligence agency conclusions about Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Trump backers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have criticized his performance.
Trump is taking aim at a familiar target – the media – saying his NATO meeting was “great” but that he “had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!”
Even hosts on the Trump-preferred Fox News have been critical of his handling of the summit.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s willing to consider additional sanctions on Russia, but there’s no rush to act.
Ryan had pointedly reminded President Trump on Monday “that Russia is not our ally,” after Trump cast doubt on U.S. intelligence findings of election meddling by Vladimir Putin’s operatives.
On Tuesday, Ryan underscored that Russia did interfere in the 2016 elections and is a “menacing government” that does not share U.S. values. He said Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to finish his investigation.
But the Republican leader did not suggest the House will be responding legislatively any time soon.
“Let’s be very clear just so everybody knows: Russia did meddle with our elections,” Ryan said. “What we intend to do is make sure they don’t get away with it again and also to help our allies.”
House Democrats say they will try to force a vote affirming the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections, and endorsing Ryan’s statement rebuking President Trump.