The timing was exceptionally awkward

The Times was live updating.

Mr. Trump refused to say that he believed American intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 United States election, as a news conference where international affairs were expected to dominate turned again and again to the president’s domestic political troubles. The timing was exceptionally awkward, just days after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents on charges of hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in an attempt to aid Mr. Trump.

For “exceptionally awkward” read “treasonous.”

Asked whether he believes his own intelligence agencies, which say that Russia interfered in the 2016 United States election, or Mr. Putin, who denies it, Mr. Trump refused to say, but he expressed doubt about whether Russia was to blame.

It’s rather as if Charles Lindbergh had been elected president in 1940.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, and other American intelligence officials “said they think it’s Russia,” Mr. Trump said. “I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Emphasis added.

But when asked directly whom he believes, Mr. Trump changed the subject to misconduct by Democrats during the campaign.

The president’s ambivalence, after the indictments of Russian intelligence agents for the election hacking, and after the findings of congressional committees, represents a remarkable divergence between Mr. Trump and the American national security apparatus.

For “remarkable divergence between Mr. Trump and the American national security apparatus” read “treason.”

“I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections,” Mr. Trump said. “I felt this was a matter best discussed in person. President Putin may very well want to address it, and very strongly, because he feels very strongly about it, and he has an interesting idea.”

Ah yes, best discussed in person, between a ruthless murderous former KGB operative and an ignorant reckless toddler.

Mr. Trump began the day of the meeting by blaming the United States for its poor relationship with Russia, casting aspersions on the federal investigation into Moscow’s cyberattack on the 2016 presidential election, even as he said he felt “just fine” about meeting with Mr. Putin.

In a pair of tweets sent on Monday before he headed for breakfast at Mantyniemi Palace, a residence of the Finnish president, Mr. Trump twice branded the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference the “Rigged Witch Hunt.”

That investigation, and “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity,” he wrote, are why the United States’ relationship with Russia “has NEVER been worse” — a bold claim, given that the history includes periods like the Cuban missile crisis, and the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

For “bold” read “treasonous.”

Mr. Trump reiterated the point in his prepared remarks at the news conference with Mr. Putin, saying: “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.”

Image result for chamberlain peace in our time

Asked at the news conference if he held Russia at all responsible for conflict with the United States, Mr. Trump said: “Yes, I do, I hold both countries responsible. I think the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish.”

But he did not cite a single specific thing Russia had done to contribute to tensions. And as he often does, Mr. Trump pivoted from the question that was asked to declaring his innocence of collusion with Russian election meddling, and boasting about his electoral victory.

“That was a clean campaign,” he said. “I beat Hillary Clinton easily and frankly we beat her. We won that race and it’s a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it. The main thing and we discussed this also: zero collusion.”

“There was no collusion,” he added. “I didn’t know the president. There was nobody to collude with.”

For “no collusion” read “treason.”

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