Donald Trump returned late Monday from his European tour to face ire in Washington, where USA intelligence officials and senior Republicans were denouncing the president as "shameful" and "disgraceful" after he refused to challenge Russian leader Vladimir Putin over interference in American elections.
"The president must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally". Trump said his meeting with Putin went "very well", adding that he and the Russian leader discussed the "disagreements" between the United States and Russia "at length", including the subject of election interference.
While American intelligence agencies have assessed that Putin himself signed off on a campaign to sow discord among the United States voting public and tilt the election in favor of President Trump, the Russian president denied his government was involved.
"I don't see any reason why it would be", Trump said.
Former CIA Director John Brennan on Monday ripped into President Donald Trump for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin alone in Helsinki.
"Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russian Federation accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections", Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Twitter.
"No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant", McCain said in his statement.
But while neither president seemed to appreciate Lemire, commentators on social media erupted with praise and admiration for the reporter, calling him "incredibly brave", a "hero" and "fearless".
In Helsinki, however, Trump was determined to accentuate the positive, as was Putin. A spokesman did not specify who would attend the meeting.
"Speaking about having the ball in our court in Syria", Putin said, in an awkward change of subject.
Even if Trump were thinking only in terms of his own political survival - his usual mode - he would be tougher on Putin, because he must realise that kowtowing to the Russian only strengthens suspicions of collusion.
He will keep trying to bludgeon and blackmail Europe into buying more expensive USA liquefied natural gas rather than cheaper fuel from the Russian pipeline. "And they were never bound to succeed", Putin told Fox. "It's too big to be sanctioned and isolated".
Trump "delivered us here with a display of cowardly self-interest", Cuomo said, but this ended up bringing people together.
The former Central Intelligence Agency director tweeted: "Why did Trump meet 1 on 1 with Putin?"
Mr Trump has also been able to frame his closeness to Mr Putin as an improvement on his predecessor Barack Obama.
Trump's behavior unnerved a lot of people but especially former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, who tweeted that Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki "rises to & exceeds the threshold of high crimes & misdemeanors".
"Flattering dictators will not advance American interests".
Trump stunned USA political allies and foes alike with his answer to a question about Russian hacking and interference in the 2016 election which saw him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. As such, his extraordinary performance on Monday fueled criticism of his presidency from both the right and left.
And when Putin called Trump "Donald" - a sign of disrespect that Trump's foes usually use - the president should have responded in kind, calling Putin "Vlad".
US President Donald Trump habitually calls the press "the enemy of the people" - a loathsome calumny, redolent of dictatorships, that he repeated yesterday.