According to NowThis senior correspondent Versha Sharma, the one-on-one meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could not have gone better for the Russian president.
During their summit in Helsinki, Trump repeatedly failed to hold Putin accountable for his interference in the 2016 U.S. election. And when directly asked by U.S. reporters about Russia and the recent indictments by the Department of Justice, he decided to talk about — of course — Hillary Clinton’s emails instead.
In doing so, Trump solidified himself as Russia’s “useful American idiot.” In politics, a “useful idiot” means a person who is unwittingly used as a propagandist for a cause. Trump embodied this perfectly at the summit, by refusing to hold Putin accountable and dismissing the findings of the U.S. intelligence community. He could have brought up the country’s crimes against Crimea and Ukraine, the Russian Novickok chemical that recently killed a woman in the UK, or the Pussy Riot protest at the World Cup — but he didn’t.
Instead he chose to focus on his electoral college victory in 2016, undermining the FBI investigation against him, and, of course, his 2016 presidential opponent’s emails.
Trump is constantly going against what his own intelligence community has concluded. And, instead of showing the world that that he and the U.S. can stand up to Russia’s meddling, he basically displayed the exact opposite.