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June 24, 2018

President Trump spoke at a campaign rally for Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) in Las Vegas Saturday evening, urging his audience to vote against Heller's opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), whom Trump called "Wacky Jacky." A "vote for her is a vote for increased taxes," Trump claimed. "Weak borders. It is really a vote for crime."

The president also weighed in on key current issues for his administration, positing that trade relations will "work out" somehow. "The trade stuff is coming along, just starting, but it's going to happen because, you know, we're the piggy bank that everybody likes to rob from," he said.

On immigration, Trump argued the U.S. has "to be very strong," adding that his administration is doing "a very good job." Of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he said, "We have a good chemistry together. We get along great. He's a smart, tough guy. He's a great negotiator."

Trump also took the opportunity to slam Sen. John McCain (R) of nearby Arizona. Though he did not mention McCain by name, Trump critiqued the senator for his crucial "no" vote on the GOP health-care bill last year. The two men have a history of poor relations: Trump has belittled McCain's history as a prisoner of war, saying he prefers "people who weren't captured;" and McCain, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer, has said Trump lacks "principles and beliefs."

Watch Trump's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian

4:08 p.m. ET

Responding to fierce criticism from both sides of the aisle regarding his joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump said he hopes we can all just move on from this whole election-meddling thing.

In a Monday tweet, Trump said "we cannot exclusively focus on the past" when it comes to building "a brighter future" in U.S.-Russia relations.

"I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people," wrote Trump, pointedly pulling out the one bit of his press conference comments that resembled slight criticism of Russia. When asked whether he believed the intelligence community or Putin's denials of interference, Trump dodged, saying "I don't see any reason why it would be" Russia that meddled.

Trump's emphasized trust in intelligence officials, who are quite positive that Russia interfered in the election, flew in the face of his own comments, just moments later, when he also put stock in Putin's "strong and powerful" denial of wrongdoing. While Trump suggests the interference is a thing of the past, his performance and the ensuing outcry makes it clear that the controversy will carry well into the future. Summer Meza

3:36 p.m. ET

Dictionary.com knows how to deliver a subtweet, which it defines as "a hostile or otherwise negative post ... about a particular person but [that] does not mention the person's username."

The website often tweets the meaning of whatever word is taking over the news each day. And in the wake of President Trump's much-derided Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, that word was "traitor."

Dictionary.com didn't name any names, but its replies lit up with users who thought this tweet referred to a particular president. And for those tired of calling Trump's summit with Putin a "disaster," Thesaurus.com offered some alternatives:

The dictionary site's most-visited definitions were also remarkably reflective of the national mood. Trending on Monday were "proliferation" — as in nuclear proliferation — and "collusion" — that thing Trump insists his campaign didn't do with Russia. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:28 p.m. ET

President Trump on Monday directly pitted the advice of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats against the word of Russian President Vladimir Putin — and appeared to side with the latter. During his joint press conference with the Russian leader following their closed-door summit, Trump said of Russian meddling in the 2016 election: "All I can do is ask the question. People came to me — Dan Coats came to me, and some others — they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it's not Russia. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be."

Following Trump's appearance with Putin, Coats released a statement reaffirming the conclusion of the American intelligence community, which is that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Without mentioning either the American or the Russian president, Coats wrote: "We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy." He added pointedly: "We will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security."

BBC editor Paul Danahar noted that the fact that Coats would release "a statement that appears to be in repudiation of his boss tells you how unprecedented Trump's comments alongside President Putin today truly were." Read Coats' full statement here. Kimberly Alters

3:04 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Conservatives in and out of Washington were alarmed by President Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, where the American leader refused to affirm the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Putin's Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Pressed directly by Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire as to whether he believes Putin's assertions that Russia is innocent over the findings of American intelligence, Trump dodged the question altogether — and he later lauded Putin's "very strong denials" of meddling and said, "I don't see any reason why it would be" Russia that interfered.

But where some national security experts saw a president who appears to be "wholly in the pocket of Putin," Vice President Mike Pence saw quite the opposite. "What the world saw, what the American people saw, is that President Donald Trump will always put the prosperity and security of America first," Pence said, per NBC News' Peter Alexander.

NBC News' Benjy Sarlin notes that on July 27, 2016 — just days after Pence was introduced as Trump's running mate at the Republican National Convention — Pence struck quite a different tune. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections," Pence said at the time, "I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences." Kimberly Alters

3:04 p.m. ET

Democrats and Republicans alike have united to condemn President Trump's statements at Monday's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin — but Russian officials couldn't be happier.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) called Trump's performance "shameful," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) condemned the president's "naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats," and former CIA Director John Brennan called the comments "nothing short of treasonous."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the other hand, said the summit was "fabulous ... better than super," Russian media reported. Perhaps Lavrov and failed GOP-hopeful Don Blankenship can start a club — a very, very small club. Summer Meza

2:45 p.m. ET

The conservatives aren't alright. After President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and held a joint press conference with the Russian leader Monday, conservatives took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.

First up to bat was Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who quickly condemned Trump's "bizarre" equivalence of the U.S. and Russia's roles in destroying their relationship. "When the president plays these moral equivalence games," Sasse said in a statement, "he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs." Sasse's fellow Republican, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), wrote that he thought Trump's performance was "shameful."

Still, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had perhaps the most savage take of them all:

Away from Capitol Hill, Republican strategist Mike Murphy blasted Trump's "damn near traitorous" remarks, calling the press conference "the most depressing, disgusting, toadying, weak, moronic, [and] lie-stuffed" appearance in the "long history of the American presidency." Former Republican congressman Joe Walsh called the event "the final straw," saying he would "never support Trump again." CNN host S.E. Cupp, meanwhile, rounded things off with a solid dose of sarcasm, which you can see below. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:40 p.m. ET

President Trump's Monday comments in Helsinki didn't earn him much support from longstanding critics, nor from fellow GOP leaders. But at least the president still has Don Blankenship on his side.

"Trump did a great job today," tweeted the former West Virginia Senate candidate. "Most national media commentary on it is ignorant and un-American."

Most national media commentary — much of it focused on quoting exact words from Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin — has pointed out just how unprecedented it is for a U.S. president to side with Russia over the American intelligence community. What's un-American to Blankenship, apparently, is calling Trump's performance anything but "great."

Blankenship, who once boasted that he was "Trumpier than Trump," often backs the president on Twitter, saying that Trump is right and the rest of the GOP is wrong. While the former coal tycoon must be used to flying solo in his unpopular opinions by now, he may find himself especially alone in this particular case. Summer Meza

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