$1*/ mo hosting! Everything you need to succeed online with us!

US Lawmakers Still Seething Over Trump-Putin Summit

President Donald Trump’s defense of the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin did nothing to quell furor on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers on Wednesday demanded answers from the administration and pressed punitive legislation aimed at Moscow.

“Americans and the members of this committee deserve to know what the president and foreign autocrats are agreeing to behind closed doors,” said the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

Menendez expressed consternation over Russian statements signaling a willingness to launch security cooperation agreements Trump and Putin allegedly agreed to during their encounter.

“Pro-Kremlin media at this moment are putting out more information … than anything that I know as the senior-most Democrat on this committee, than any member of the committee knows, and that the American people know,” he said.

Testimony in Senate

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to testify before the committee next week. The panel’s chairman, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, said Democrats are not alone in demanding answers.

“I take a back seat to no one on challenging what happened at NATO, what happened in Helsinki,” Corker said in response to Menendez. “I look forward to working with you in putting whatever pressure we need to put on the administration to make sure we find out [details of Trump’s trip].”

One day after insisting he misspoke during Monday’s press conference with Putin in which he did not defend U.S. intelligence conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, Trump blasted critics of his performance in Helsinki and proclaimed the summit a success.

Of his closed-door meeting with the Russian leader, Trump wrote on Twitter that he and Putin “discussed many important subjects” and added: “Big results will come!”

National security team excluded

​Democrats’ suspicions of Trump have risen to new heights, prompting an unprecedented demand — that the U.S. interpreter who attended the Trump-Putin meeting testify as to what was said. The Senate’s Democratic minority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, noted that Trump excluded all members of his national security team from the private chat with Putin.

“President Trump wanted no one else in the room. So to have the translator come testify and tell what happened there is an imperative,” Schumer said. “It is rare for translators to come before Congress, but in this case it’s warranted.”

Republican leaders did not echo that call, but some Republican lawmakers reaffirmed their support for bipartisan legislation to further sanction Russia if it meddles in U.S. midterm elections in November, and to protect the special counsel in the Justice Department’s Russia probe, Robert Mueller, a frequent target of Trump’s ire.

“The only thing that Vladimir Putin understands is deterrence,” Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said, advocating the DETER Act that he and Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen introduced in the chamber.

“Sanctions will go into effect immediately if the Director of National Intelligence … determines that Russia is once again interfering in our elections,” he added. “So that before he [Putin] even does it [orders meddling], he has a very clear understanding of what the price is going to be.”

Separately, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake told reporters he is working with Democrats to craft a Senate resolution affirming support for America’s intelligence community and demanding the administration fully brief lawmakers on Trump’s discussions with Putin in Helsinki.

Flake has said he was “floored” by the Trump-Putin news conference, calling it “shameful.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, on Tuesday did not rule out Russia-related votes, saying “there’s a possibility that we may well take up legislation related to this.”

Election security push

In the U.S. House, Democrats tried bringing an amendment providing $380 million in funding for election cybersecurity up for consideration Wednesday. Republicans blocked the measure from coming up for a vote, arguing previously approved funding is still available for states seeking assistance.


“I don’t know what the hell else we can do over here,” Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said on the House floor after the attempt Wednesday. “I think the American people want us to do something. What happened in the 2016 election, what Russia did to our country, was a serious matter.”


House Democrats also proposed censuring the president for his remarks in Helsinki as well as legislation protecting special counsel Mueller’s investigation into allegations the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.


With just a handful of days left in session, House Republicans are unlikely to take any politically risky moves that would distance themselves from the president ahead of November’s midterms elections, which will determine party control of the U.S. Congress.


But retiring Rep. Ryan Costello, a Republican from Pennsylvania, told VOA Tuesday he did think this controversy would go away.


“It takes a little time to ascertain what the appropriate additional checks and balances might have to be. There’s at minimum a lot of frustration and embarrassment and just not accepting what happened,” Costello said.

Katherine Gypson contributed.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

White House Denies Trump Again Contradicted Intel Agencies on Russia

Another day of did he or didn’t he? 

There is confusion at the White House about whether President Donald Trump again contradicted conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community. 

During a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the president shook his head and said, “Thank you very much, no” when asked if Russia still poses a threat to the United States. 

Hours later, in the briefing room, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained that Trump actually was “saying ‘no’ to answering questions” and not to the reporter’s question itself.”

“He does believe that they would target certainly U.S. election,” she added. 

Pressed about the president’s remark, Sanders explained: “I’m interpreting what the president said. I’m not reversing it.” 

Many of the reporters clearly remained unsatisfied with the clarification. Some of those who were in the Cabinet Room publicly said they clearly understood that the president was tersely answering the question posed by Cecilia Vega of ABC News, who was representing the television networks in the typical pooling coverage arrangement. 

When Trump returned to the White House South Lawn shortly after Sanders’ remark, VOA and others in that pool attempted to get the president to clarify. 

Holding hands with first lady Melania Trump after stepping off of Marine One, Trump looked at reporters and waved, but he did not answer the questions. 

However, Trump, in a broadcast aired Wednesday,  told the “CBS Evening News” it is “true” Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, and he “would” hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for interference “because he’s in charge of the country.” 

The director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, last week said that Russia and other countries are continuing to target American businesses, the government and other institutions.

“The warning lights are blinking red,” Coats said, characterizing Russia’s aggression as persistent and pervasive, and that Moscow’s aggression is “meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham immediately cited the apparent gap between Trump’s and Coats’ views of Russia. The member of the armed services subcommittee on cyber-security, tweeted: “A BIG discrepancy between President Trump’s statement and DNI Coates’ warning. It’s imperative we get to the bottom of what is going on so we can be prepared to protect ourselves in advance of the 2018 elections. My personal view: the Russians are at (it) again.”

Another Republican, Susan Collins, who is a member of the Senate’s intelligence committee, tweeted: “The Russians continue efforts to undermine Western democracies, including ours. The President is wrong and needs to heed the warnings from our Intelligence Community, including DNI Dan Coats.”

A more concise reaction to the president came from a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency. 

Retired Air Force General Michael Hayden tweeted: “OMG. OMG. OMG.” (Repeating the acronym for “Oh my God”).

During the day’s earlier exchange with reporters in the Cabinet Room, the president asserted, “There’s never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been.”

Trump said he thinks Russian “President [Vladimir] Putin knows that better than anybody,” adding that the Russian leader is “not happy about it.” 

The U.S. president has faced a barrage of criticism from lawmakers of both parties, retired high-level intelligence officials and diplomats for his performance at Monday’s news conference in Helsinki following his meeting with Putin.

Alongside the Russian leader, Trump said he rejected the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election that he won. 

In a rare walkback, Trump said on Tuesday he accepted the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the presidential election he won.

“I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump told reporters at the White House Tuesday, reading from a prepared statement. 

But he then made an apparently unscripted addition: “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there” — an assessment of the possibility that other countries tried to interfere in the U.S. election, which was not part of the intelligence community’s finding.

On Twitter Wednesday, Trump continued to boast about his summit with Putin, saying critics of his performance in Helsinki were suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

Trump also tweeted: “Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this.”

In another tweet he said, “So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki. Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well, which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!”

Sanders told reporters that Trump’s extended face-to-face conversation with Putin, which appeared to last for more than two hours, covered a wide range of issues of concern to both countries, and that the president did raise the issue of election meddling. 

Asked whether a recording was made of the conversation, for which only the presidents and their translators were present, Sanders replied, “I’m not aware of one.” 

A number of Democratic lawmakers are requesting congressional committees subpoena Trump”s interpreter to answer questions. She has been identified in media reports as State Department veteran interpreter Marina Gross. 

The White House press secretary was asked on Wednesday whether the administration would agree to such testimony. 

“That’s something that would go through the State Department,” Sanders responded.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Trump Offers New Boast of Successful Meeting with Putin

U.S. President Donald Trump is once again defending his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a day after reversing his acceptance of Putin’s denial that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

“So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday morning. “Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!”

The president’s Twitter statement came after he said he accepted the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

“I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump told reporters in remarks from the White House. But he then added: “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”

His comments come a day after he publicly accepted Putin’s denial that Moscow was involved in election interference, drawing sharp criticism from both Republican and Democratic U.S. lawmakers for taking the foreign leader’s word over his own intelligence agencies. Lawmakers called his comments shameful and a disgrace to the U.S. presidency.

Claims he misspoke

At a White House meeting with Republican lawmakers on Tuesday, Trump said that after he reviewed a transcript of his Helsinki remarks, he said he realized he misspoke.

“In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word would instead of wouldn’t. The sentence should have been…’I don’t see any reason why it WOULDN’T be Russia,” Trump said.

But he added that the Russian actions had no impact on the outcome of his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, and reiterated his frequent statement denying that there was any collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives.

He said his administration will do everything it can to thwart any Russian efforts to interfere with November’s U.S. congressional elections.

“We will stop it, we will repel it,” Trump vowed.

Before back-tracking, Trump said on Twitter he had a great summit with Putin and gave no ground in changing his statements about accepting Putin’s denial of interference in the U.S. election two years ago.

He echoed that sentiment about his meeting with his Russian counterpart again Wednesday morning in another Twitter post. “While the NATO meeting in Brussels was an acknowledged triumph, with billions of dollars more being put up by member countries at a faster pace, the meeting with Russia may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success.”

On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, responded to Trump’s rosy assessment.


“Let’s be very clear: Russia meddled in our election,” Ryan said. “We know they interfered with our elections, and we have passed sanctions on Russia to hold them accountable.”


When asked about election meddling during a joint news conference with Putin on Monday, Trump said, “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

Congressional criticism

A day later, U.S. lawmakers continued to condemn Trump’s performance.


“It’s almost as if Donald Trump is embracing Putin’s knees. I’m ashamed of it. Every American should be,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said. “Can you imagine if President Kennedy believed Khrushchev when he said there were no missiles in Cuba?”


Some Republicans have come to Trump’s defense. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said, “The president has gone through a year and a half of totally partisan investigations — what’s he supposed to think?”

Democrats are demanding action to rein in Trump and counter Russia, from congressional hearings on the Helsinki summit to increased sanctions against Russia to legislation protecting the special counsel in the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller. Mueller’s 14-month investigation is ongoing, with no apparent end in sight.


“Words are not enough. Our response to the debasement of American interests before a foreign adversary demands a response not just in word but in deed,” Schumer said. “Our Republican colleagues cannot just go ‘Tsk, tsk, tsk.’ They must act.”


“I think there’s a lot we can do together,” the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, responded. “But as long as this becomes a political, partisan, stop-Trump-at-all-costs effort, I don’t think we are going to make much progress.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, told reporters he expects Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify on Russia as early as next week.


Some Trump critics called on his key national security aides to quit in the face of the president saying that he had “confidence” in both Putin and the U.S. intelligence community.


Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, asked in a Twitter comment, “If you’re on the Trump national security team, and you’ve been out there saying how strong Trump is on Russia and how serious our commitment is to NATO, how do you not resign after the last four days?”

There has been no indication so far that any of Trump’s key aides planned to quit.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Facing Capitol Hill Criticism, Trump Corrects Russia Comments

President Donald Trump accepted the U.S. intelligence community assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election Tuesday, just a day after saying the opposite as he stood alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump’s reversal came after strong criticism from both parties on Capitol Hill — prompting many lawmakers to consider further action, as VOA’s congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson reports.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Republican Senators Seek to Reassure US Allies After Trump Trip

President Donald Trump stunned many around the world with his refusal to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin as he stood beside him in Helsinki Monday. This coming after Trump’s harsh criticism of close U.S. allies, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the European Union and NATO. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Washington.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Obama Urges World to Follow Mandela’s Example

Former U.S. president Barack Obama Tuesday delivered the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg. He urged people in South Africa and elsewhere to follow the late Nobel Peace Prize winner’s example and combat the politics of fear and division.

In his speech, Obama bemoaned what he described as the return of the old order of things. He said there is evidence of continued racism in both the U.S. and South Africa despite Mandela’s 67 years in confronting the issue.

Turning to diminishing democracy in some parts of the world, Obama urged leaders to follow the example Mandela set.

“Madiba guided this nation through negotiation, painstakingly, reconciliation, its first fair and free elections,” Obama said, referring to Mandela by his tribal name. “We all witnessed the grace, the generosity with which he embraced former enemies, the wisdom for him to step away from power once he felt his job was complete.”

Obama said it was sad that new wealth has compounded inequalities, with the captains of industry growing increasingly detached from the people around them.

He also reflected on global events, saying America’s interference in the Middle East and the growing influence of Russia and China were some of the worrying developments.

Obama sounded a warning, saying the politics of fear, resentment and retrenchment are growing stronger at a pace never seen before. However, he said, all hope was not lost.

I believe in Nelson Mandela’s vision…. I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy built on the premise that all people are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Obama’s speech was welcomed with applause, cheers and ululation.

Godfree Moketsi traveled 400 kilometers from the Limpopo Province to Johannesburg to see and hear Obama speak.

“Yah, Obama is on point,” he said. “He has been talking about capitalists who are enriching themselves. They forget about the poor and it’s not the reflection of Madiba. Economical radical transformation is what we want now and Obama touched those kinds of things.”

The other speakers of the day thanked Obama, saying he was a great inspiration to young people across the African continent.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Russian Prosecutors Want to Question US Intel Agents

Russian prosecutors are pushing to question U.S. intelligence agents and a former ambassador to Moscow in their investigation of an influential foe of Vladimir Putin.

The general prosecutor’s office made the announcement Tuesday in the wake of Putin’s summit Monday with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Putin offered to allow U.S. investigators to question Russian military agents accused of hacking the Democratic Party during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. In exchange, Russia wants to question U.S. officials suspected of involvement in alleged financial crimes by British investor Bill Browder.

Representative Alexander Kurennoi told reporters the prosecutor’s office is preparing requests to send to the U.S. for such interrogations.

Browder was behind a law on U.S. sanctions against powerful Russians that was prompted by the death of a Russian lawyer investigating corruption.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

US Muslim Candidates Run in Record Numbers But Face Backlash

A liberal woman of color with zero name recognition and little funding takes down a powerful, long serving congressman from her own political party.

When Tahirah Amatul-Wadud heard about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning upset over U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s Democratic primary last month, the first-time candidate saw parallels with her own longshot campaign for Congress in western Massachusetts.

The 44-year-old Muslim, African-American civil rights lawyer, who is taking on a 30-year congressman and ranking Democrat on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, said she wasn’t alone, as encouragement, volunteers and donations started pouring in.

“We could barely stay on top of the residual love,” said Amatul-Wadud, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal’s lone challenger in the state’s Sept. 4 Democratic primary. “It sent a message to all of our volunteers, voters and supporters that winning is very possible.” 

From Congress to state legislatures and school boards, Muslim Americans spurred to action by the anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric of President Donald Trump and his supporters are running for elected offices in numbers not seen since before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, say Muslim groups and political observers.

Many, like Amatul-Wadud, hope to ride the surge of progressive activism within the Democratic Party that delivered Ocasio-Cortez’s unlikely win and could help propel the Democrats back to power in November. 

Still, the path to victory can be tougher for a Muslim American. Some promising campaigns already have fizzled out while many more face strong anti-Muslim backlash.

In Michigan, Democrat candidate for governor Abdul El-Sayed continues to face unfounded claims from a GOP rival that he has ties to the controversial Muslim Brotherhood, even though Republican and Democratic politicians alike have denounced the accusations as “conspiracy theories.”

In Rochester, Minnesota, mayoral candidate Regina Mustafa has notified authorities of at least two instances where anti-Muslim threats were posted on her social media accounts. 

And in Arizona, U.S. Senate candidate Deedra Abboud received a torrent of Islamophobic attacks on Facebook last July that prompted outgoing U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, the Republican lawmaker Abboud is hoping to replace, to come to her defense on Twitter.

“I’m a strong believer that we have to face this rhetoric,” said Abboud, who has also had right-wing militant groups the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights and the Proud Boys stage armed protests her campaign events. “We can’t ignore it or pretend like it’s a fringe element anymore. We have to let the ugly face show so that we can decide if that is us.”

There were as many as 90 Muslim-Americans running for national or statewide offices this election cycle, a number that Muslim groups say was unprecedented, at least in the post-9/11 era.

But recent primaries have whittled the field down to around 50, a number that still far exceeds the dozen or so that ran in 2016, said Shaun Kennedy, co-founder of Jetpac, a Massachusetts nonprofit that helps train Muslim-American candidates.

Among the candidates to fall short were California physician Asif Mahmood, who placed third in last month’s primary for state insurance commissioner, despite raising more than $1 million. And in Texas, wealthy businessman Tahir Javed finished a distant second in his Democratic primary for Congress, despite an endorsement from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Nine candidates for Congress are still in the running, according to Jetpac’s tally. At least 18 others are campaigning for state legislature and 10 more seek major statewide and local offices, such as governor, mayor and city council. Even more are running for more modest offices like local planning board and school committee.

The next critical stretch of primaries is in August. 

In Michigan, at least seven Muslim Americans are on the Aug. 7 ballot, including El-Sayed, who could become the nation’s first Muslim governor.

In Minnesota, the decision by Keith Ellison, the nation’s first Muslim congressman, to run for state attorney general has set off a political frenzy for his congressional seat that includes two Muslim candidates, both Democrats: Ilhan Omar, the country’s first Somali-American state lawmaker, and Jamal Abdulahi, a Somali-American activist.

But historic wins in those and other races are far from assured, cautions Geoffrey Skelley, an associate editor at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan political analysis website run by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Omar’s chances of emerging from a field of five Democratic candidates in Minnesota’s Aug. 14 primary was bolstered by a recent endorsement from the state Democratic Party, but El-Sayed is an underdog in his gubernatorial race, he said.

Other Muslim-American candidates might fare better in Michigan, which has one of the nation’s largest Arab-American populations, Skelley added.

There, former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib has raised more money than her Democratic rivals in the race to succeed Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who resigned last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Former Obama administration official Fayrouz Saad is also running as a Democrat in the wide open race to succeed Republican Rep. David Trott, who isn’t seeking re-election. 

Either could become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, which has only ever had two Muslim members: outgoing Ellison and Rep. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat seeking re-election.

Saad, who served most recently as director of Detroit’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, recognizes the importance of representing her community in an era of rising Islamophobia. 

The 35-year-old broke from the conservative Republican politics of her Lebanese immigrant parents following the 9/11 attacks because she felt Arabs and Muslims were unfairly targeted. 

“I felt the way to push back against that was to be at the table,” said Saad, adding that her parents’ political leanings have also since moved to the left. “We have to step up and be voices for our communities and not wait for others to speak on behalf of us.”

But not all Muslim candidates feel that way.

In San Diego, California, 37-year-old Republican congressional candidate Omar Qudrat declined to comment on how Islamophobia has impacted his campaign, including instances when his faith have been called into question by members of his own political party.

Instead, the political newcomer, who is one of at least three Muslim Republicans running nationwide this year, provided a statement touting his main campaign issues as faces Democratic U.S. Rep. Scott Peters in November: addressing San Diego’s high number of homeless military veterans, improving public education and expanding economic opportunities for city residents.

“Running for public office is about advancing the interests of your constituents and the American people,” Qudrat’s statement reads. “Nothing else.”

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Putin Denies Having Compromising Info on Trump, Meddling in Elections

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied having any compromising information on U.S. President Donald Trump and called the idea that Russia meddled in 2016 U.S. presidential elections “utterly ridiculous.”

During a contentious interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, Putin said, “Interference with the domestic affairs of the United States — do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?”

The interview, which aired Monday night, came shortly after the Russian leader met with Trump in Helsinki for a highly anticipated summit.

He also refused to engage with Wallace on the subject of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of a dozen Russian officials.

Wallace tried to offer Putin a copy of the indictment, which names 12 officials of the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. They are being accused of working to hack the servers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee and emails associated with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Putin neither commented on the indictment nor accepted a copy offered by Wallace.

Eventually, Putin questioned Mueller’s probe, questioning why the former FBI chief hadn’t reached out to the Russian government for help in the investigation, pointing to a treaty between the two countries regarding assistance in criminal investigations.

“Why wouldn’t special counsel Mueller send us an official request within the framework of this agreement?” Putin asked. “Our investigators will be acting in accordance with this treaty. They will question each individual that the American partners are suspecting of something. Why not a single request was filed?”

Putin also denied having “kompromat” or “compromising material” on Trump.

“I don’t want to insult President Trump when I say this — and I may come as rude — but before he announced that he will run for presidency, he was of no interest for us,” he said.

As for the summit, Putin pronounced it “the beginning of the path” back from the West’s past efforts to isolate Russia.

“I think you see for yourself that these efforts failed, and they were never bound to succeed,” he said.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

    $.99* .COM Domain! You be you with us!     Web Hosting $3.95