Top Congressional Republicans blasted President Donald Trump on Monday and Tuesday for his performance during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, calling it “shameful” and “disgusting.”

Trump, when asked directly by a reporter to condemn Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, instead praised Putin’s denial, attacked the FBI and went on a rant about missing emails belonging to his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.


“My people came to me — Dan Coats came to me, some others — they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said, referring to the director of national intelligence. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”


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The GOP response came within moments of the press conference ending and top Republicans broke with Trump over Putin comments.


Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska called Trump’s comment that both countries were responsible for the state of the state of U.S.-Russia relations “bizarre and flat-out wrong.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a golfing partner of the president, called the event a “missed opportunity” for Trump “to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling” and Trump’s refusal to condemn Putin “will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness.”

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona simply described the comments as “shameful.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a close Trump ally, said in a statement that “Russia interfered in the 2016 election” and we must protect our democracy “regardless what Vladimir Putin says.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said the press conference “was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement that “there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.”

And other Republicans called Trump’s remarks “outrages,” “an absolute disgrace” and “disgusting.”

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