John Colson: Trump 'believes' Putin, so everything is fine

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Despite this, Trump doubts our own intelligence agencies and says he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin " s denials.

Or is it just that he can't see well through the haze of his own miasma of self-regard, stunning ignorance about almost everything important to our democracy, and a need to undermine and destroy every vestige of policy-making by his predecessor, Barack Obama, no matter what the cost to our nation's norms and governance? We've got a lot of killers. "Well look, I can't stand there and argue with him", Trump said, suggesting that such arguments would keep Putin from leaving Syria and inhibit our ability to "work with him on Ukraine". Why is the president so insecure about the last election?

But that would have run counter to his well-established fascination with, and good feelings toward the various "strong men" who dictatorially run countries around the world, from Putin to Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, whose vicious crackdown on drug dealers reportedly has killed thousands, many of them innocent of any involvement in the drug scene there. He did not do what they're saying he did. "What I said there is that I believe he believes that, and that's very important for somebody to believe", he said during a press conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi.

Whatever the explanations of USA intelligence officials, there will be little to cavil about if it's true that Putin has moved to put the squeeze on Pyongyang. "You're like the guy at a magic show who applauds before the trick is even over".

Did Russia's attempts to meddle in US elections come up in the conversation?

"The Trump administration's plan of substituting bilateral FTAs for the multilateral TPP is going nowhere fast", said Bonnie Glaser, an Asia scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "I believe that he feels that he and Russian Federation did not meddle in the election".

Such a photograph would have been many times more valuable journalistically than the awkward souvenir photos where the leaders strain to link arms in an obligatory show of solidarity.

Robert Mueller has a team investigating alleged meddling with the United States election a year ago.

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Bringing Xi, Putin and Trump together would have vividly captured a rare moment in contemporary history when all three leaders were in the same place at the sametime and looking pleased to be together. The late-night host then added a quip about Kevin Spacey, comparing Trump's defense to "telling Kevin Spacey to keep an eye on Roy Moore".

A US intelligence official told VOA there has been no change to the assessment about Russia's efforts to influence last year's election.

Yes but do you believe him? a reporter asked. John McCain, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who felt obligated to issue a statement over the weekend reminding everyone that "Vladimir Putin does not have America's interests at heart". Mr. Trump is essentially suggesting the USA can't get Mr. Putin's help on North Korea or Syria if it insists on Russian accountability. Noah asked the president.

When asked to clarify his thoughts about American intelligence later in a formal news conference, Trump still couldn't quite criticize Putin and Russian Federation.

"I asked him again", Trump said.

Asked about this disturbing trend on November 2, Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said: "How much does it help to yell about these problems?" Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that.' And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it".

"I still don't know what Trump believes", Noah said after showing the clip.

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