President Trump: Putin meeting 'better' than summit with NATO allies

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House on July 9, 2018, in Washington.PlayOliver Contreras/Sipa USA
WATCH Trump stands his ground after Putin news conference backlash

Amid a flood of criticism from members of both parties over his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump declined to reverse course Tuesday by instead highlighting the meeting as more productive than his gathering with NATO allies days before.

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"While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. "Sadly, it is not being reported that way - the Fake News is going Crazy!"

While the president dismissed the criticism as evidence of a biased media, it's not just Democrats who have raised serious alarms as Trump appeared to side with Putin's denials of interference in the 2016 election.

One of Trump's most stalwart defenders, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, tweeted following the summit saying it was "the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected – immediately."

Trump instead chose to highlight one of his lone Republican backers Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who said the backlash was instead evidence of "Trump derangement syndrome.”

PHOTO: President Donald Trump and Russias President Vladimir Putin arrive to hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, July 16, 2018.Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin arrive to hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, July 16, 2018.

"Thank you @RandPaul, you really get it!" Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. "'The President has gone through a year and a half of totally partisan investigations - what’s he supposed think?'"

None of Trump's cabinet members have rushed to Trump's defense amid the controversy, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a statement Monday standing by the Intelligence Community's assessment of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

However, in an attempt to justify the president's performance, the White House notably circulated talking points obtained by ABC News to surrogates and Republican allies on Capitol Hill late Monday evening as the president landed back in Washington.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018.Markus Schreiber/AP
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018.

The talking points seem to contradict what the president said standing alongside Putin, listing the previous times Trump said he "thinks" Russia meddled and one appearance in 2017 when he said, "I'm with our agencies."

The narrative being pushed by the White House runs counter to Trump's own comments just yesterday saying he doesn't "see any reason why" Russia would be interfering in the election, and called Putin's denial of meddling "strong and powerful."

Instead, the White House shared Trump's "real record on Russia" to Republicans "to push back on the false and hysterical claims currently being pushed by some of those on the left and in the media."

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