It was the first time in memory a president was this deferential, this weak, in the presence of an adversary. Jeff Flake also ripped Trump, saying he thought he would never "see the day" when an American president would blame America in part for "Russian aggression". In other words: It's Monday in America.
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., opted for a similarly measured response, acknowledging Russia's interference - though he qualified that "there is no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election".
The fallout to the meeting and press conference has called the conduct of both Mr Trump and Mr Putin into question, with the Russian President again denying the Russian state had any part in influencing the U.S. election - even as a Fox News journalist tried to hand him the indictment documents of 12 Russian intelligence officials during an interview.
On Friday, the Department of Justice indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on charges that they hacked Democratic email accounts during the 2016 election.
American President Donald Trump has said he can not see any reason to believe Russian Federation interfered in the election that put him into office in 2016. "He is a very qualified person, he knows the material, he listens, he takes in arguments, he keeps his own opinion on some questions", Putin said. "Ninety percent of the nuclear power in the world between these two nations, and we've had a phony witch hunt deal drive us apart", Trump said, going on to say he thinks the probe is the biggest impediment to stronger relations.
Putin summit kicks off in Helsinki
They may underline the importance of continuing the discussions, setting the stage for discussions on expert level. Ahead of the summit, Russian media did have rather modest expectations of how much Putin could concretely achieve.
Trump's defense of Russian interests at the expense of European allies and the USA intelligence community is a trend that has been building for months, leaving America's closest allies bewildered.
"Our law enforcement is perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriatematerials to the United States", he said.
We agree with Republican Sen.
"I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections", he said.
Trump is drawing criticism for statements about Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.
Secret Service agent on President Trump's security detail dies during Scotland trip
Mr Trump resigned as director of SLC Turnberry the day before his inauguration as US President in January 2017. USA officials said he died in hospital surrounded by his family on Tuesday.
Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican who serves on both the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, said nothing he heard changed his views.
That's nearly as unconscionable.
What did you make of his comments and do you foresee this being a major problem for President Trump in the weeks and month ahead?
"It's important that the U.S. and Russian Federation talk to each other".
GOP Sen. Corker: Putin 'having caviar' after Trump meeting
Brennan, who ran the Central Intelligence Agency under President Obama, called Mr. Trump's comments at the press conference "nothing short of treasonous".