July 18, 2018
Despite his continued assertions that there is “no evidence of collusion with Russia” and his support of California Representative Devin Nunes’ “undercover investigation” of the Russia probe, House Speaker Paul Ryan has issued a statement slamming President Donald Trump’s refusal to admit that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election, Vox reports.
“There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world,” Ryan said. “That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community, but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”
Ryan’s comments came in response to the press conference that marked the end of a two-hour private meeting in Helsinki, Finland, between President Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
At that meeting with the media, President Trump flatly answered a question from the Associated Press on the Kremlin’s role in the 2016 presidential election, “I have asked President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
The POTUS noted that U.S. intelligence leaders—including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats—“came to me … and said they think it’s Russia.”
While he said he had “great confidence” in U.S. intelligence, President Trump implied that he trusted Putin more. “…I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Ryan’s rebuke to those comments came as a surprise. Throughout a week that included an ornery meeting with NATO and an interview with The Sun that criticized Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, the House Speaker had repeatedly said that the president should not be bashed while he was overseas.
But it seems Trump’s shocking performance in Helsinki was beyond the pale—even for Ryan, Vox reported.
Research contact: email@example.com