House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday rebuffed President Donald Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin at his Monday summit in Helsinki, saying that the Kremlin leader “does not share our interests.”
“Vladimir Putin does not share our values,” the Wisconsin Republican told reporters and flanked by other party leaders at the Capitol.
“Let’s be very clear: Russia meddled in our election,” he said.
“We just conducted a year-long investigation into Russia’s interference in our elections,” Ryan said. “They did interfere in our elections.
“It’s really clear. There should be no doubt about that.
“It’s clear that it didn’t have a material effect on our elections.”
Ryan said that the “tough sanctions” Congress passed earlier this year against Moscow would remain in place “so that we can hold them accountable.
“I understand the desire and the need to have good relations,” the speaker said. “That’s perfectly reasonable.
“But Russia is a menacing government that does not share our interests and our values.
“That should be made very, very clear.”
At Monday’s news conference, Trump stood next to the Russian leader and sided with him over U.S. intelligence agencies on whether the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
The president’s performance was widely condemned —including by many members of his own party, particularly over last week’s indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosectors — for backing Putin and accepting his word that intelligence agencies were not involved in the election.
Ryan said that if congressional committees believe further sanctions on Russia are necessary, “I’m more than happy to consider those.”
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