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Russia Probe
weekly primer
Jul 20, 2018

This Week: Trump Embraces Putin On World Stage, Russian Agent Indicted

President Trump began the week by holding a historically disastrous press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Trump said he could think of no reason why Russia interfered in the 2016 election and called the special counsel investigation a “disaster.” Standing at his side, Putin dismissed the “so-called” interference as a sham, declined to deny that Russia had compromising material on Trump, and offered Russia’s help in analyzing U.S. intelligence about his country’s own election meddling. The fallout was swift. Fox hosts, local and congressional Republicans and former intelligence chiefs described Trump’s performance with terms like “disgusting” and mused about what Putin has on the U.S. president. GOP leadership and Trump’s own intelligence officials again affirmed that Russia was responsible for the hacking and influence campaign. A few of Trump’s most loyal toadies defended him. This backlash inspired an unbelievable (and rare) Trump walkback: He’d meant to say that he saw no reason why Russia “wouldn’t” have been involved in…

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