Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman:
After nearly two hours behind closed doors in Helsinki, Trump and Putin held a press conference at which Trump said the special counsel’s “probe is a disaster for our country” because it had interfered with U.S.–Russian relations. Jonathan Lemire, of the Associated Press, asked Trump about the assessment of U.S. intelligence that Russia conducted the email hackings, and asked, “Would you now with the whole world watching tell President Putin—would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?” Trump responded with a rambling answer about wanting to see the server from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s deleted emails, before saying, “President Putin—he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Putin chimed in that the matter needed to be settled in a court of law, not by an investigation. Some aides speculated that Trump was simply being contrary or trying to please the person standing next to him. Regardless of his motivations, by taking Putin’s denial at face value, Trump was publicly siding with the leader of a foreign adversary over his own intelligence officials. Most of Trump’s advisers and cabinet officials were uncertain how to process what had just taken place. Some Trump senior aides said they felt physically ill watching it happen.
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