U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed forces within the United States on Thursday for marring what they called the success of their first summit, with Trump saying he looked forward to their second meeting.
Trump, struggling to quiet an uproar over his failure to confront Putin over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election at Monday’s summit in Helsinki, fell back on one of his favorite targets – the news media – while U.S. lawmakers considered fresh legislative action targeting Moscow.
The Republican president accused the media of distorting comments in which he gave credence to Putin’s denials of election interference despite the conclusions of the American intelligence community about Moscow’s conduct.
“The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media,” Trump, who has faced criticism from lawmakers in both parties after the summit, wrote on Twitter.
“I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more,” Trump said.
In Moscow, Putin said “powerful” U.S. forces were trying to sabotage the summit’s achievements, but said he and Trump had begun to improve U.S.-Russia ties anyway.
“It was successful overall and led to some useful agreements. Of course, let’s see how events will develop further,” Putin said in remarks to Russian diplomats from around the world, without disclosing the nature of the agreements to which he referred.
“We see that there are forces in the United States that are prepared to casually sacrifice Russian-U.S. relations, to sacrifice them for their ambitions in an internal political battle in the United States,” Putin said.
Putin did not name names, but spoke of U.S. politicians who put their “narrow party interests” above the best interests of the United States and were powerful enough to be able to foist their questionable “stories” on millions of Americans.