The United States is reeling after another bombshell moment from President Donald Trump’s chaotic European visit. The latest instance occurred at the president’s joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin when Trump refused to denounce Putin directly for the Russian cyber attacks on the United States’ democracy. Now, former CIA director John Brennan is calling the president’s performance at the press conference “nothing short of treasonous.”
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
His words come after Trump was asked if he would denounce Putin’s actions and “warn him to never do it again.” Instead of condemning the cyber attacks that all United States intelligence agencies agree originated from the Russian government, Trump refused to say that he believed his own intelligence agencies over Vladimir Putin. Instead, he talked about Hillary Clinton’s emails and said:
But I have — I have confidence in both parties. I — I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing; where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s e-mails? 33,000 e-mails gone — just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 e-mails.
So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.
The president even went on to float the possibility of collaborating with the Russian military to see if they hacked the 2016 presidential election:
And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer. OK?
The reception of Trump’s performance has been, by and large, negative. Many are siding with John Brennan:
😮 when will the GOP stand up for our country?
— AmyG 👩🏻💻🌊🌊🌊 (@amynorthgeorgia) July 16, 2018
This press conference is an absolute disgrace. Trump won't even side with America.
What Trump did today was commit treason. He cannot be supported anymore. He is a clear & present danger to America. Republicans can no longer be quiet.
I won't be quiet. I am done with him.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 16, 2018
Call to arms. We are under attack by our President. pic.twitter.com/KsMpApxCFK
— Arron Hears Trump Elected (@VictoriaVanHor7) July 16, 2018
"My people came to me…they said they think it's Russia. 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."
That's how a press conference sounds when an Asset stands next to his Handler.
— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) July 16, 2018
In this extraordinary press conference, Trump and Putin and teaming up against the entire American intelligence and law enforcement communities
This is a propaganda victory for Russia of historic proportions
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 16, 2018
Though a sitting United States President siding with aggressors over Americans is what many are calling historic, it will be the reaction of the president’s own Republican party that determines whether this moment is epochal enough to turn the tides.
In addition to Trump’s refusal to side with Americans, Trump tweeted that the United States was to blame for strained relations with Russia. The president sided with a foreign enemy over the United States multiple times. For some Republicans, it’s finally too much.
Reactions from the right are beginning to pour in.
I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 16, 2018
Chairman Gowdy criticizes President Trump/Putin presser & says confident advisors “will be able to communicate to the President it is possible to conclude Russia interfered with our election in 2016 without delegitimizing his electoral success” pic.twitter.com/vkfXYtNL7J
— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) July 16, 2018
Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 16, 2018
No, @POTUS. Mueller investigation on election manipulation by #Russia is not “a disaster for our country.” It is law enforcement doing work our country needs it to do. What has “kept us apart” is failure to condemn Russia, lack of any sign that you’ll stop it from happening again https://t.co/M6R3vC8fuK
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) July 16, 2018
I strongly disagree w/ statement that Russia did not meddle in 2016 election. With all I have seen on House Intel Comm & additional indictments of 12 Russian officers last week, it is clear Russia's intentions. President Trump missed opportunity to hold Putin publicly accountable
— Frank LoBiondo (@RepLoBiondo) July 16, 2018
However, despite what many are calling the most disgraceful performance from a United States president in their lifetimes, It’s hard to say whether this will be the straw that breaks the back of passivity or if this is yet another turn through the labyrinth of a new, insidious normal.