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Sam Husseini, reporter with The Nation, removed from Trump-Putin press conference in Helsinki
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Before Monday's highly anticipated joint press conference with President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of the reporters was forcibly removed from the room. Sam Husseini was credentialed to cover the summit for The Nation magazine, and earlier in the day he tweeted, "The issue isn't Trump. The issue isn't Putin. The issue is the issues: Nuclear threats, Syria, etc."
Before Trump and Putin spoke at the press conference, video shows Husseini holding a piece of paper that reads "Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty." A security official aggressively tries to take the sign from him. We speak with Husseini about his arrest and the questions he was trying to raise. "It wasn't a protest," he says. "It was just an attempt to do serious, aggressive journalism, which I think is what we need."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: President Trump is back in the United States and set to meet with lawmakers today, after his joint summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. During a joint press conference Monday, Trump stood next to Putin as he lashed out at his own intelligence agencies over the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it's kept us apart. It's kept us separated. There was no collusion, at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore, so far that I know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they're going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. That was a clean campaign. I beat Hillary Clinton easily. And, frankly, we beat her. And I'm not even saying from the standpoint -- we won that race. And it's a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it. People know that. People understand it. But the main thing -- and we discussed this also -- is zero collusion. And it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It's ridiculous.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: President Trump's remarks drew bipartisan outrage, with Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain calling them, quote, "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory," and former CIA Director John Brennan tweeting that they exceeded, quote, "the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous." Trump's own director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, said in a statement, that was reportedly not cleared by the White House, quote, "We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security." Even Fox News joined in the chorus of criticism, with Neil Cavuto of Fox Business calling Trump's comments, quote, "disgusting," and Fox News anchor Bret Baier calling it "surreal."
AMY GOODMAN: President Trump later defended his remarks, tweeting, "'I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.' However, I [also] recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past -- as the world's two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!"
Meanwhile, Putin acknowledged he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election, but reiterated his denial of meddling.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] It is obvious to everyone that our bilateral relations are going through a difficult period. But these difficulties and tense atmosphere have no objective grounds. The Cold War is long over.
AMY GOODMAN: Before Monday's news conference began, one of the reporters in the room was forcibly removed. Sam Husseini was credentialed to cover the summit for The Nation magazine. Earlier in the day, he tweeted, "The issue isn't Trump. The issue isn't Putin. The issue is the issues: Nuclear threats, Syria, etc." Before Trump and Putin spoke at the news conference, video shows Husseini holding a piece of paper that read "Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty." A security official aggressively tries to take the sign from him. Sam Husseini can be heard saying he's looking for his glasses, which were knocked off his face, before guards dragged him out. Listen carefully.
SAM HUSSEINI: I don't [inaudible] -- excuse me! [inaudible] did you knock my glasses down? You're going to step on my glasses! Why are you -- why are you -- I'm being open! Oh, my god! What the? You're grabbing me, for what? I'm telling you what I'm doing! I'm being totally open! What the hell?
AMY GOODMAN: For more on this and the outcome of the U.S.-Russia summit, we're going directly to Helsinki to speak with Sam Husseini. He's just outside the palace, where he was removed on Monday. Again, contributing writer to The Nation magazine, senior analyst with the Institute for Public Accuracy.
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