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Rubio: We need to stand with intelligence community

23 July 2018

Mr Trump has refined and sharpened his presentation since Helsinki.

Under pressure from Congress, which past year passed a tough sanctions law targeting Russia, the US Treasury in April imposed sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs for election meddling and "malign" activities.

Mr Trump accused the news media of trying to provoke a confrontation with Moscow that could lead to war, although concerns about the meeting have been raised by a broad cross-section of Republicans and Democrats. There have only been two on-camera briefings so far this month.

"He's a guy who went bragging around the world about his connections to Russian Federation, so they [the FBI] knew who he was before the campaign", Rubio said.

On any level it is astonishing to see a sitting president contradict his own administration this way.

President Donald Trump on Sunday said he had a "great" meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, alleging that the mainstream USA media is trying and disparage the Helsinki summit.

Rubio pushed back on that and defended the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The repeated walk-backs have sowed confusion and left the press corps scrambling to keep up.

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, questioned whether the tape, first reported by The New York Times, supported the arguments of the President's lawyers that there was no wrongdoing by the President. So he's done most of his talking in tweet form.

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Some Republicans chimed in with similar criticism, even including Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who has championed Trump's cause in criticizing the wide-ranging investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Putin in exchange wanted Russian interviews with the former USA ambassador to Russia and other Americans the Kremlin accuses of unspecified crimes. They also say the Russian effort is ongoing. President Clinton presented to the American people what was being discussed with individuals.

Gowdy didn't answer directly, but said Trump had access to more evidence than anyone and specifically mentioned Trump's access to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, all of whom Trump nominated for those roles. "It is what it is", Mr Coats said. "Why would we tolerate that of Russian Federation?"

Most of the respondents with an opinion felt strongly about Trump's handling of the meeting.

Vega was one member of a small press pool that was allowed inside the beginning of a Cabinet meeting. "It's President Trump who has suggested that Crimea belongs properly to Russian Federation and that he'd be prepared to consider some accommodation for Russian Federation vis-a-vis Ukraine", Rice said.

Trump was again heard saying "no".

This explanation made little sense because, after he told Vega "no", Trump continued fielding questions from other reporters.

"I think you're going to see, and there's already work being done, to set a series of sanctions against individuals and entities in Nicaragua", Rubio said.

In his assessment of Putin, Rubio said he did not believe the Russian leader expected a better relationship with the United States and was more "interested in gaining advantage at our expense and to his benefit".

Rubio: We need to stand with intelligence community