President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is drawing a lot of criticism, particularly after Trump stated “he’s not sure if Russia” was behind the hacking of the 2016 presidential election, or not. This despite the U.S. Intelligence Community claiming they were.
But, what’s also getting attention is a joke Putin made to Trump during the brief moment reporters were allowed in the room in their nearly two-hour talk.
Putin: These are the ones who insulted you? *pointing and laughing at the reporters*
With the reporters being ushered out, Trump replied, “These are the ones.” Putin leaned back and laughed, and with a chuckle, Trump seemed to add, “You’re right about that.”
“Вот эти тебя обижали?”: Путин и Трамп обсудили на встрече журналистов pic.twitter.com/cWZQA8HjSC
— Дмитрий Смирнов (@dimsmirnov175) July 7, 2017
What’s wrong with this picture? Oh, nothing, other than the fact that it’s well-reported record that Putin either jails or kills reporters he doesn’t like.
Putin also might have been making the joke because he was mocking Trump to his face – that’s also a possibility.
In any case, even Trump has acknowledged that Putin kills journalists. Sharing a joke like that on the world stage, with everyone watching, is particularly chilling when you take that into account.
Trump was asked by MSNBC’s Morning Joe what he thought about it in the past, and Trump’s answer was interesting, to say the least.
Trump: “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have on this country. I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so you know.”
“I’m confused,” Scarborough pressed. “You obviously condemn Vladimir Putin killing journalists and political opponents, right?”
“Oh sure, absolutely,” Trump conceded.
Despite the joke, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, while briefing reporters in Hamburg, told reporters after the meeting that Trump had accepted Putin’s version of events, and believed that Russia had no involvement as Putin stated. That’s more concerning.
This directly contradicts what the U.S. Intelligence Community has stated numerous times since Trump became elected – all 17 agencies have found that Putin had personally ordered the cyber attack. That information has been made public, so even the American people know it to be true.
What’s further – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the meeting that the issue will remain unresolved.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer immediately charged both Trump and Tillerson with a ‘grave dereliction of duty’ by choosing to believe Russia instead of the United States own intelligence agencies.
He released a blistering statement shortly after their meeting:
“President Trump had an obligation to bring up Russia’s interference in our election with Putin, but he has an equal obligation to take the word of our Intelligence Community rather than that of the Russian President. For Secretary Tillerson to say this issue will remain unresolved is disgraceful – – To give equal credence to the findings of the American Intelligence Community and the assertion by Mr. Putin is a grave dereliction of duty and will only encourage Russia to further interfere in our elections in the future.
Working to compromise the integrity of our election process cannot and should not be an area where ‘agree to disagree’ is an acceptable conclusion. Congress and Americans of all political persuasions and parties should do all they can to increase sanctions on Russia and prevent the reduction of any sanctions by the executive branch.”
Tillerson described the meeting between the two leaders as “positive,” saying “there was not a lot of relitigating of the past.” Tillerson said it was more important “to go forward” rather than discussing possible penalties against Russia for messing in the election.
Even before the meeting, Trump stated that he “couldn’t be sure it was Russia,” and that “other countries may have been behind it.” Again – not what the intelligence community has stated. They already ruled this out.
Trump stated during the meeting that it was an “honor” to be sitting with Putin. You can watch more of their exchange below: