Senator John McCain - who previous year blasted Trump for having a phone call with the Russian president - stayed true to form and called Trump's press conference "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory". The two men found themselves largely in agreement.
Trump got the last word: "If anybody watched Peter Strzok testify over the last couple of days-and I was in Brussels watching it-it was a disgrace to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it was a disgrace to our country, and you would say that was a total witch hunt". "It's kept us apart, it's kept us separated".
On Monday, Putin suggested that he would allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller to interrogate the 12 Russians indicted for meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election if Russian authorities could also interview persons who may have been involved in illegal dealing in Russia. Trump then said, for the first time, that he believes Putin: "I don't see any reason why it would be" Russian Federation.
He added: "With that being said, all I can do is ask the question".
Yet, while Trump's remarks drew criticism in both parties, the reaction was more muted from the Republican side.
Toomey said in the statement that if Putin objects to the indicted hackers being brought to justice, the United States should impose new sanctions on Russian Federation.
Both leaders also said they would work together to help resolve the Syrian crisis.
Those leaders are already fuming over Trump's imposition of trade tariffs on various countries, including Russian Federation. A US grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents on Friday for their alleged involvement in hacking email accounts controlled by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign, casting a shadow over the Helsinki summit. "Absolutely I'm with the president on this; the (U.S.) intelligence community was full of biased people", Republican Senator Rand Paul told CNN. Trump wrote on Twitter.
Donald Trump Says America's 'Biggest Foe' Is the European Union
Trump then repeated his criticism of Germany's Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russian Federation . Trump said he had "low expectations" for his meeting with Putin in Finland on Monday.
The Russian foreign ministry responded by liking Mr Trump's tweet and then replying: "We agree".
In other words, Trump is aiding and abetting and giving comfort to an enemy who, by the analysis of people Trump himself appointed to lead the intelligence community, is now attacking the United States. Mr Putin said the "so-called Russian interference" was brought up by Mr Trump. I will say this: "I don't see any reason why it would be", Trump said.
Putin proposed an "expert council" to improve relations between the countries.
Some US politicians had called for the summit to be cancelled after 12 Russian military intelligence agents were indicted last week, accused of hacking Hillary Clinton's election campaign.
"It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected--immediately".
Brennan, in a subsequent television interview with MSNBC, also said, "This, I think, rises to the point of good American patriots resigning in objection to that performance", referring to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton by name. "He defends the interests of the United States of America, and I do defend the interests of the Russian Federation".
Trump's attitude toward Putin will be contrasted with his actions last week at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels and a visit to the United Kingdom, where he castigated USA allies for not more rapidly increasing their defense spending and involved himself in the internal affairs of British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. At a press conference Friday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said not to expect a "Perry Mason" moment where his Russian counterpart owned up to the interference.