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Trump, Russians hail summit as major victory; other U.S. views different

"While I had a great meeting with NATO ... I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia," President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday.

By
Sommer Brokaw
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday. Photo by David Silpa/UPI
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

July 17 (UPI) -- As many in the United States deride President Donald Trump's performance at the Helsinki summit with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin, Russians are praising the meeting as a substantial victory.

Russian officials have called Putin's performance at Monday's summit in Finland a major foreign policy success.

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"Honor and praise to President Vladimir V. Putin for being able to strengthen Russia's authority on international arena so that, no matter how the Americans and the EU try to exist in confrontation with us, to pressure us with sanctions, they still have to look for ways of rapprochement with us," Defense and Security Chairman Viktor Bondarev said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the talks "better than super." Other Russian officials saw it as a step forward to improving relations.

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Valentina Matvienko, speaker of the Upper House of Russian Parliament, said "this is the first important step towards establishing a political dialogue."

Russian reaction lies in sharp contrast to U.S. reaction, which has largely criticized Trump for siding with Putin instead of the U.S. intelligence community, which concluded early last year the Kremlin attempted to sabotage the 2016 presidential election.

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At their joint news conference Monday, Putin again denied acting against the American electoral process. When asked, Trump said, "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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Some Republicans have also criticized Trump for his remarks.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said there is "no question" Russia interfered in the election.

"The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally," Ryan 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."

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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a statement after the summit Monday that reiterated the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia tried to intervene.

Former CIA Director Thomas Brennan called Trump's "nothing short of treasonous."

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Trump dismissed all of the criticism.

"While I had a great meeting with NATO ... I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia," he wrote. "Sadly, it is not being reported that way -- the Fake News is going Crazy!"

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A few other Republican reactions:

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