9 Extraordinary Moments From Donald Trump's Press Conference With Vladimir Putin In Helsinki

Graeme Demianyk

1. Trump Sides With Putin

The jaw-dropper.

Trump dismissed his own intelligence service’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, claiming that Putin “was extremely strong and powerful in his denial”.

The US President was asked if he trusted US intelligence, which has indicted 12 Russian agents for stealing Democratic Party documents to help him win the vote for Trump. 

Trump said he had been told by his CIA chief that it was Russia which was responsible, but that he saw no reason to believe it.

“I don’t see any reason why it would be”, Trump said. “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

He went on to deride the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, calling it “a disaster for our country”, and renewed his oft-repeated claim that there was no evidence of “collusion”.

The recent CIA chief accused the President of treason.

2. ‘Both Countries Responsible’ For Rift

‘Both sides’ to blame again, this time for the chill in relations between the two countries. 

“I hold both countries responsible,” Trump said during the news conference when asked whether he held Russia accountable for anything in particular in regard to poor relations between the countries.

“I think the United States has been foolish,” he said following a bilateral summit between the two leaders in Helsinki, Finland. “I think we’ve all been foolish. I think we’re all to blame.”

3. Putin Sides With Trump 

The affection appeared mutual.

4. The Football

With the World Cup still on many people’s minds, Putin looked to exploit the PR triumph when in the company of the US President.

Putin pulled out a red-and-white commemorative football and thew it over to Trump standing at the podium next to him.

Trump said he’d give it to his 12-year-old son Barron, a football fan, and then proceeded to chuck the thing to the First Lady.

Putin 1, Trump 0.

First Lady Melania Trump smiles as she holds a football thrown to her by US President Donald Trump during his joint news conference with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

5. The Hillary Clinton Obsession Continues 

He won’t let it lie, repeatedly referring to the emails.

“The Democrats lost an election, which, frankly, they should have been able to win, because the Electoral College is much more advantageous for Democrats, as you know, than it is to Republicans,” said Trump, returning to a recurring motif.

To be clear, this is not the case: Trump only won the presidential election in 2016 because of the Electoral College. He lost the popular vote to Clinton by nearly 2.9 million votes.

“I beat Hillary Clinton easily and frankly we beat her,” he said. “We won that race and it’s a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it.” 

6. The Pee Tape Question

Putin did not deny that the Russian government may have “compromising material” about Trump and his family.

Asked about the salacious claims, Putin acknowledged the “rumours” before evading the question.

“It’s difficult to imagine nonsense of a bigger scale than this,” Putin said, according to a translator.

“Well, please, just disregard this issues [sic], and don’t think about this anymore again.”

Among the rumours is the infamous ‘pee tape’, a purported recording that supposedly contains footage of Trump and urinating prostitutes at a Moscow hotel in 2013, when the then-reality television star and ‘Miss Universe’ owner was there for that year’s pageant hosted in Moscow. 

7. The ‘Interesting Idea’

Not only was Putin “extremely strong and powerful in his denial” of meddling in the election, he also had an “interesting idea” about how to tackle it.

Sounds like another win for the Russian President.

8. Putin’s Offer To The FBI

Putin said he will “look into” the FBI indictment and brought up a treaty between the two countries on dealing with criminal cases.

“We can offer that the appropriate commission headed by special attorney Mueller, he can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal, an official request to us so that we would interrogate, hold the questioning of these individuals whom he believes are privy to some crimes,” Putin said, adding he’d even allow Mueller’s team to come to Russia to be present for the questioning.

9. The Protest

A man was forcibly removed before the start of the press conference.

Reporters at the press conference said the man was Sam Husseini, whom The Nation said had received press accreditation from the outlet to cover the summit.

He was seen holding a sign reading “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty” and had passed around an editorial about “secure elections and true national security”.

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