Even as the White House continues to navigate the political fallout of President Donald Trump’s Monday press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump is expressing an eagerness to meet with Putin a second time to “begin implementing some of the many things discussed” this week in Helsinki, Finland.
Pushing back against criticism of his Putin meeting, 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.
Trump tweeted a list of topics discussed at the summit, including terrorism, security for Israel, Mideast peace, Ukraine, North Korea and more, and wrote: “There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems... but they can ALL be solved!”
“I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed,” he wrote. Trump also met with Putin last year in Germany and Vietnam.
The president also tweeted the “Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war” and “hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin”.
Trump declared the Helsinki summit a “great success” and once against called the new media “the real enemy of the people”.
Returning from the Helsinki summit, Trump was faced with bipartisan outrage over his apparent siding with Putin over U.S. intelligence officials with regard to Russian election interference.
Over the past few days, Trump has worked to reverse his statements — with varying success — and stressed that he’s been tougher on Russia than any president before him.
Still, elected officials on both sides of the aisle are unsure Trump is prepared to handle ongoing Russian aggression.
A number of senators are swiftly signing on to a bipartisan bill from Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., to slap new sanctions on Russia or any other country caught posting ads, running fake news or otherwise interfering with election infrastructure.
Sanders called the legislation “hypothetical” and declined to say whether the president would back it.
Two other lawmakers, Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Chris Coons, D-Del., will try to force a vote Thursday on a resolution backing the intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and must be held accountable. A similar House vote Tuesday failed on a party-line vote.