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Lawmakers critical of Trump's remarks at news conference with Putin

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, smiles beside Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump, left, smiles beside Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. | Photo: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

July 16, 2018 04:43 PM

Elected leaders from the Capital Region — including some Republicans — are criticizing President Donald Trump's performance at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as "dangerous" and "a sad day for America."

Top Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York says never in the history of the country has a U.S. president supported an adversary the way Trump supported Putin.

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The junior senator from New York, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, says Trump abdicated his national security responsibilities when he refused to hold Putin accountable.

Rep. Paul Tonko says the president needs to explain his actions to the American people.

Rep. John Faso, a Republican, says he does not agree with the president's approach. He says Putin's denials of meddling in the 2016 presidential election have no credibility.

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik also disagreed with the president and tweeted, "I support the Mueller investigation in getting to the political truth."

The New York delegation was not alone in expressing disappointment with the news conference. House Speaker Paul Ryan says there's "no question" that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and continues to try undermine democracy in the United States and around the world.

The Wisconsin Republican says the American intelligence community and the House Intelligence Committee agree that Russia interfered in the election. He adds: "The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally." Ryan says Russia "remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals."

Sen. John McCain called it "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."

The Arizona Republican says Trump proved not only unable, "but unwilling to stand up to Putin." He said Trump and Putin "seemed to be speaking from the same script" as Trump made a "conscious choice to defend a tyrant."

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says Trump's performance at the summit with Putin was not "a good moment for our country. This was a very good day for President Putin."

Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted that Trump's behavior exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. Brennan says, "It was nothing short of treasonous."

Perhaps as a response to his critics, Trump later in the day tweeted that he has great confidence in his intelligence people, but "to build a brighter future we cannot exclusively focus on the past." He also shared a photo of him and Putin with the quote, "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics."

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Chris Rooney

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