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The top US intelligence official on Monday stood by what he called "clear" assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election after President Donald Trump cast doubt on that conclusion following a summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump is an "American patriot", not a traitor to his country, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

"It's the notion that Russian Federation is this dark, sinister, evil place that needs to be stayed away from, isolated and so forth", he said.

"Seriously, Trump gushes over Putin like a flustered 12-year-old who just met Mickey at Disneyland", the "Late Night" host said. Asked if he held Russian Federation accountable for anything, Trump replied, "I hold both countries responsible".

Mitt Romney, now the Utah GOP Senate nominee, called Trump's statements "disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles". Late-night comics on USA television skewered Trump for failing to stand up to his "boss" Putin in their face-to-face talks. He said Trump must quickly say that he misspoke and that "the evidence is obviously irrefutable".

"Donald Trump advanced Russia's global agenda today, not our country's".

What did President Putin say?

'We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, ' he said in a statement on Monday, 'and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security'.

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FILE - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a TV news interview on Capitol Hill in Washington. He then showed clips of reporters criticizing Trump's comments.

"Speaking about having the ball in our court in Syria", Putin said, in an awkward change of subject.

"Respected colleagues, when Mr. Trump came to Moscow, I didn't even know he was there", said Putin. "They have paid $33 Billion more and will pay hundreds of Billions of Dollars more in the future, only because of me". He said that Trump "sold out" his community, the justice system, and "worst of all, our country" during the press conference.

"Helsinki has frozen over", Kimmel said while opening his ABC show. "I thought we were doing horribly before today. This is truly the Trump derangement syndrome that motivates all of this".

Why did Trump take Putin's side?

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, tells CNN the talk picked up following Trump's Helsinki press conference. "And I think we're all to blame".

"There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russian Federation, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals", he said.

As he weathered heavy criticism on Tuesday for fawning over the strongman who the USA intelligence community says was behind 2016 hacking, Trump declared victory in his Helsinki and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summits.

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