Surrender Summit In Helsinki: A Rundown Of Trump’s Capitulation To Putin On The World Stage

In one of the most shameful displays in American history, President Donald Trump betrayed America's interests to give a foreign adversary a return on their investment.
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Rantt Rundown: Day 543 of the Trump presidency

The Big Story: Just days after 12 Russians were indicted for their criminal espionage on the 2016 U.S. election, the President of the United States sided with the man who ordered this attack on American democracy and helped him get elected. President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland was one for the history books. It’ll be panned in a chapter that will be known as the great capitulation.

The day started with President Trump sending out tweets attacking Americans and the investigation that just sent a strong message to Russia about their interference. Then, while Putin remained measured, Trump was over-complimentary and did not even mention meddling in their pre-meeting statements.

After an hours-long one-on-one meeting, Trump held a disastrous press conference with Putin where he failed to challenge Russia on their interference in the 2016 election. Instead, Trump attacked the Democrats, panned the Russia probe as a witch hunt, and called the U.S. “foolish.”

When asked whether he holds Russia responsible for anything, Trump said:  “I hold both countries responsible…I think that the United States has been foolish.”

When asked about Russia’s interference and the fact the U.S. Intelligence Community is conclusive in their findings, Trump said: “I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

When Trump was pressed by AP’s Jonathan Lemire to call out Russia for their election interference, Trump responded by asking where the DNC server is and asked where Clinton’s 33k emails. Trump went on to say “[Putin] just said it’s not Russia…I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” This was before he went off on another tirade about Clinton’s emails and called the idea of Russian interference an excuse Democrats came up with for losing the election.

President Putin, who couldn’t have scripted this presser better himself, was giddy. He denied interfering in the election but did not explicitly deny a question as to whether or not Russia has compromising material on President Trump. One of the more notable statements that Trump called “an incredible idea” was an exchange for Putin’s rival of Magnitsky Act fame Bill Browder.

When asked whether he wanted Trump to win, Putin said: “Yes, I did.”

As members of the media and Democrats condemned the press conference, most Republicans remained silent in the immediate aftermath. But then the responses began to pour in. While most Republicans were spineless, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke strongly. You can read all their responses here:

One of the most powerful responses came from Former Director of National Intelligence John Brennan.

You can watch the full conference yourself, the final words of which were “witch hunt,” and judge for yourself whose interests President Trump was representing at this summit.

Context: This comes after Friday, when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the most significant indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller thus far. The indictments were levied against 12 Russian intelligence officers (GRU) for hacking the DNC, DCCC, and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign during the 2016 election and leaking through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. It also included the theft of 500,000 Illinois voters’ data.

The investigation that Trump called a witch hunt on the world stage is a multi-faceted counterintelligence investigation that probes Russian interference, the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia, and potential obstruction of Justice on the part of President Trump. It also probes financial crimes on the part of Trump’s associates as well as international corruption involving Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc. Before Friday’s indictments, the investigation had already yielded at least 79 charges against 23 people or companies, 5 guilty pleas (3 of which came from Trump’s associates), and 1 person sentenced.

This also comes amid President Trump and the Republicans’ continued efforts to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and Americans’ faith in U.S. institutions (some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals).

When it comes to potentially compromising information, the answer could be as simple as following the money.

A quick reminder that we were warned:

The Look Ahead: What everyone saw today was the President of the United States repaying a foreign adversary for helping him get elected. What will President Putin feel empowered to do in light of this large-scale surrender? What we know is that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has established the underlying crimes on the part of the Russians. What’s next appears to be the American co-conspirators who are currently unnamed. Will Trump be named? Will he be found potentially guilty of obstruction of justice? The question is whether or not Republicans will do anything about it.

In other news…

  • An indictment today could spell out a stunning complicity on the part of the GOP and the NRA.

Rundown // Donald Trump / Russia / Vladimir Putin