WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said he does not agree with former CIA Director John Brennan’s contention that President Donald Trump’s comments at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin were “nothing short of treasonous.”
“I do not,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said in response to a question at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Ryan reiterated his contention that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election but said that the meddling did not affect the outcome of the contest. Ryan reiterated his belief that Russia is not an ally of the U.S. and went on to say he is open to the consideration of additional sanctions against Moscow.
Trump and Putin met one-on-one for 90 minutes in Helsinki, Finland on Monday. Following the meeting both leaders told reporters at a joint news conference that they felt progress was made on discussions related to Syria, fighting ISIS, and arms control.
When asked about the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the election, Trump suggested he agreed with Putin’s long-held denial.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” he said.
Trump called Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s collusion probe “ridiculous,” and said it contributed to heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
The remarks drew bipartisan condemnation.
On Friday the U.S. Justice Department indicted 12 Russians on charges related to the 2016 email hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and 20 state election boards.
The defendants reside in Russia.
Putin told reporters he would consider extradition in exchange for Russian participation in the Mueller probe. Trump called Putin’s proposal “an incredible offer.”