Obama’s Ambassador to Russia Slams ‘Weak’ Trump after Putin Meeting

Former Ambassador Blasts Trump for Rejecting ‘FACTS’

Donald Trump met with the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Germany, Friday. Their private meeting, the first time the two have met, was supposed to last half an hour, but instead ran for two hours and 16 minutes, according to the Washington Post. The meeting began with Trump warmly shaking Putin’s hand and patting his arm and his back repeatedly. It was one of the warmest greetings he has given to a foreign leader on camera. Trump told Putin, it was an “honor to be with you.”

Related: Hundreds of Russian Spies Are Pouring into the Country Thanks to Putin’s Pal, Donald Trump (VIDEO)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the press that Trump pressured Putin more than once during the meeting about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. However, as soon as the two leaders emerged from the meeting, Tillerson’s counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described Trump’s position as acquiescence. CNN reported that Putin’s response to Trump bringing it up was to deny it, and that Trump accepted Putin’s denials, according to Lavrov.

“President Trump said he’s heard Putin’s very clear statements that this is not true and that the Russian government didn’t interfere in the elections and that he accepts these statements. That’s all,” Lavrov said, according to a CNN translation.

CNN reported that “a senior … official” in the Trump administration immediately denied the claim that Trump accepted it. But that official, whoever he is, didn’t offer much of a rebuttal.

“I think what the two presidents, I think rightly, focused on is how do we move forward,” he said. “How do we move forward from here?”

The US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia hacked the DNC to hijack the 2016 election and undermine American democracy makes it the most significant foreign attack against US sovereignty since the 9/11 attacks. Moving forward without seeking justice is a dereliction of Trump’s duties as president.

Lavrov is also more believable than Trump on this, simply because Trump is doing nothing to prevent Russia from attacking again. And, only one day before the meeting, Trump was publicly questioning whether Russia was even the culprit while he was in Poland to cozy up to the far right demagogic government there.

“I think it very well could be Russia, but I think it could very well have been other countries,” Trump said during a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul was incensed at this sequence of events, and took to twitter to lambaste Trump and call his position “weak,” The Week reported.

McFaul was America’s ambassador in Moscow from 2012-2014, under President Barack Obama. McFaul has been doing scholarly and diplomatic work on and in Russia since the 1990s, and is considered one of America’s premier experts on the country. Before working for Obama, McFaul advised President George W. Bush on how to deal with Putin. He expressed outrage that Trump still questions the “FACTS” about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

McFaul was the ambassador right up until Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in March of 2014. So his tenure would have largely been focused on managing the growing tensions in the relationship, which he blames on Russia. McFaul said the US “Can’t just forget” that Russia invaded Ukraine. He also defended Obama’s decision-making in his relationship with Putin.

Trump campaigned for president on a claim that he was such a shrewd negotiator that he would get better deals for America than ever before. It’s not clear what, if anything, Trump got out of his 2-hour meeting with the man who attacked American democracy in 2016.

Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo/Getty

Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master's degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.