Trump renews attack on ‘fake news media’ coverage of Putin summit

Senate votes 98-0 not to allow US officials to be questioned by Russia as summit fallout continues

US president Donald Trump ramped up his attacks on the media on Thursday, repeating his claim that the "fake news media" – and not Russia – was the "real enemy of the people".

Tweeting on Thursday morning from the White House, he said his summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki had been "a great success" and he looked forward to a second meeting with the Russian leader.

He said a further meeting would enable the two leaders to "start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more".

“There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems ... but they can ALL be solved!,” he said.

He made the comment in one of a series of tweets from on Thursday lambasting the media over its coverage of the summit on Monday.

“The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war,” he said, adding that they “hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin”.

But he singled out Fox News, and its flagship morning news show Fox & Friends, for praise.

In another tweet he said: “The Fake News Media is going Crazy! They make up stories without any backup, sources or proof.” Many of the stories written about him, he claimed, were “total fiction”.

Mr Trump’s Twitter storm erupted as controversy continued to rage over his press conference performance after his meeting with Mr Putin. In a third clarification in recent days, the White House was forced to issued a statement claiming the president opposed a suggestion by Mr Putin that US officials be sent to Russia for questioning.

The Russian leader made the suggestion on Monday as part of a deal that would see US intelligence officers being permitted to interview the 12 Russian individuals indicted last Friday by the United States for hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign during the 2016 election.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a press briefing on Wednesday that the idea suggested by Mr Putin was "interesting", though she said Mr Trump hadn't committed to anything. "He wants to work with his team and determine whether there's any validity that would be helpful to the process," she said.


But secretary of state Mike Pompeo was among those who rejected the idea.  "The administration is not going to send, force Americans to travel to Russia to be interrogated by Vladimir Putin and his team," Mr Pompeo said in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Union.

The controversy prompted an emergency vote in the US Senate on a resolution demanding that current and former diplomats, officials and members of the Armed Forces should not be made available for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin.

The resolution – which was brought forward by Democratic senators – passed by 98 to 0 in the Senate on Thursday afternoon.

Separately, Mr Trump lashed out at the European Union for its record-breaking fine on US company Google announced on Wednesday. "I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!," he tweeted.

Mr Trump is due to meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in the White House for talks next week amid tensions between the two blocs over trade. The European Union is said to be considering a new list of US products that could be slapped with EU tariffs if talks next week are not productive.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent