But public reaction nationally appears more muted than in Washington, where Trump faced withering bipartisan criticism for appearing to side with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies at a Monday news conference held in Helsinki.
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump met in Helsinki last week for their first joint summit, after which the US leader invited his counterpart to visit Washington this fall. I have to say that when I listened to President Trump say he's been stronger, we had to bring him kicking and screaming to the CAATSA sanctions, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, that had a 98-2 vote in the Senate, overwhelming vote in the House that he didn't want to sign, he was forced to sign because they had veto-proof majorities. "I think there's no ignoring the fact that, for whatever reason, this president acts like he's compromised".
Before concluding the interview, Baier asked Gowdy about the news that a FISA warrant accuses former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page of conspiring with the Russian government.
A pair of prominent Republican US senators said on Sunday that the United States must move promptly to prepare new sanctions against Russian Federation to discourage interference in upcoming elections. The timing of that announcement was "unfortunate", said the official who defended Coats.
Gowdy didn't answer directly, but said Trump had access to more evidence than anyone and specifically mentioned Trump's access to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, all of whom Trump nominated for those roles.
And Sanders created a fresh headache for the administration when she said the White House was still reviewing a proposal from Putin to allow access by Russian law enforcement officials to Americans whom the Kremlin accuses of unspecified crimes in return for USA access to interrogations of Russian agents indicted for their alleged roles in interfering in the 2016 election.
Trump and Coats appeared to be at odds in the aftermath of the President's meeting with Putin at the beginning of the week.
The theory has gained a lot of traction in the wake of the POTUS' joint press conference with Russian President Putin in Helsinki. "I think the Russians elected a former KGB agent and he spends all of his time and their resources squandering it on penny ante spy tactics".
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MENENDEZ: Well, I would have liked him to have said, look, President Putin, we know that you interfered in our 2016 elections and that you are doing it now and that's not a question, that's a statement and here are consequences to it.
In a series of combative Twitter posts Sunday, Trump declared that last Monday's summit with Putin, and their side-by-side news conference that drew bipartisan negative reviews, had been "GREAT".
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week identified the bill as a potential step Congress could take to push back against Russian Federation as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called for sanctions and other deterrents.
"OK. That's gonna be special", he said.
So there's ample reason for journalists to try to ask again: "Is Russia still targeting the United States?"
Whatever Trump's motivation, there is also anxiety in Washington over his strategy of getting closer to Putin, even though most observers understand the necessity of communication between the world's two top nuclear powers at a time of dangerously ruptured ties with Moscow. That's why such a large segment of President's Trump's remarks during the question and answer period in Helsinki focused not on Russia's meddling, but on the questions of whether his campaign colluded with Russian Federation or whether Russia's meddling affected the outcome of the election.
Tweeting from his golf course in New Jersey, Mr Trump reinforced his meeting with Putin went well despite previous contradicting statements.