- Alex Edelman/Getty Images
- House Speaker Paul Ryan rebuked remarks from President Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Trump did not support findings from US intelligence agencies that the Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
House Speaker Paul Ryan condemned remarks by President Donald Trump suggesting it is still unknown whether Russian operatives meddled in the 2016 US presidential election and that insisting otherwise is not founded in reality.
In a statement shortly after Trump’s joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ryan said “there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.”
“That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally,” he said. “There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”
During the press conference with Putin, Trump said the US had acted “foolish” in regard to Russian relations and would not back up the countless findings from American intelligence agencies that Putin’s government was directly at fault.
“I think it’s kept us apart,” Trump said. “It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it.”
Trump’s remarks on Monday were met with widespread condemnation from both sides of the political aisle. Many Republicans on Capitol Hill expressed disappointment in Trump, and even several of his allies at the Fox News channel were frustrated.
“A US president on foreign soil talking to our biggest enemy, or adversary, or competitor – I don’t know how we define them these days – is essentially letting the guy get away with this and not even offering a mild – a mild -criticism,” said Fox News host Neil Cavuto. “That sets us back a lot.”
The press conference came just several days after the Department of Justice announced indictments of 12 Russian military operatives in the hacking of US political parties and their apparatuses during the 2016 campaign.