Monday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America bashed President Trump for daring to keep his meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday, for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Touting the Democrats’ argument, ABC anchors and reporters slammed Trump for continuing to go ahead with the “dangerous” pre-planned summit that started today in Helsinki, Finland, and complained that the meeting was a failure already.
Reporting live from Helsinki, anchor George Stephanopoulos set the pessimistic tone for the meeting’s outcome, complaining to ABC’s foreign correspondent Terry Moran, that President Trump was already “echoing Putin’s line” by referring to the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” in a tweet earlier this morning.
Moran agreed, gushing that Trump was siding with Putin against their critics, mistakenly calling President Trump, President Bush:
MORAN: President Bush [sic] and Vladimir Putin pushing back here against those expectations and against the line that this meeting is dangerous for President Trump because of the Russian attack on American democracy. Saying that relations have never been worse between Russia and the United States. That's what President Trump said. That would come as surprise and President Kennedy and Khrushchev who almost went to nuclear war. That is a sign of how much they want that issue off the table. These two men came to this city to do business.
Turning to World News Tonight anchor David Muir, Stephanopoulos pessimistically predicted that Trump wouldn’t press Putin about interfering in our election.
“One thing we can be sure of, he's [Trump’s] not going to come off that line denying interference in our elections,” he bemoaned.
Muir agreed, touting the “anxiety” among Democrats and “some Republicans” over Trump’s soft take on Russia. Referring again to Trump’s tweets this morning, Stephanopoulos complained that Trump wasn’t calling out Putin on the recent indictment. “He seems very reluctant to do it so far,” he said.
Like a broken record, Stephanopoulos gushed again to Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, “No word on those indictments of Russian intelligence.” Karl continued slamming Trump for “lashing out” at everyone but Putin:
KARL: [T]here is absolutely no indication from the president's own words that he is truly concerned about this, concerned about the Russian side of this. He's lashing out at Democrats. He's lashing out at Robert Mueller. But he is not criticizing Vladimir Putin.
Karl continued touting Democrats’ complaints about having a meeting to begin with, snarking that he doubted that Trump would bring up the indictments:
KARL: Democrats across the board are saying this meeting should have been canceled once that indictment dropped, once we saw its stark detail, exactly what the Russians did to interfere with the U.S. election. Stark detail, what they did to hack into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. That's obviously not going to happen. So now the question is, will the president directly bring this up in the meeting and as we've heard from his advisers that is supposedly on the agenda.
ABC then aired the brief public meeting between Trump and Putin, before the two leaders continued their meeting privately behind closed doors with just translators. Despite just the few minutes on camera, ABC’s journalists decided the meeting was already a failure because Trump opened by congratulating Putin on the World Cup.
“Did not mention at all, Russian meddling into our elections!” Stephanopoulos gushed to Moran, in the aftermath. Moran hyped that Trump was making America vulnerable by taking us away from our allies. “America first sometimes maybe means America alone,” he gushed:
MORAN: He did not. He promises he will but this is a sign of just how seriously President Trump wants to rebuild the relationship with Moscow. Most U.S. presidents have come to meetings with Russian or Soviet leaders speaking for the West, speaking for what used to be called the free world with the nations of Europe and many other nations at their back having heft in those discussions because it wasn't just the American president. America first sometimes maybe means America alone in that room because President Trump spent the last several days pushing back against the European Union and other close allies...
After complaining yet again that Trump did not mention election meddling during that brief public meeting, Stephanopoulos echoed Democrats’ fears, saying that the president was “much less prepared” than Putin. Karl replied by gushing at how “extraordinary” it was to hear Trump compliment Putin, closing their live coverage for GMA:
STEPHANOPOULOS Nothing publicly right there. Jon Karl, for a summit, not a lot of preparation on the United States side. Normally you have a series of meetings of deputies, months of preparation by everyone on the national security bureaucracy. This one put together relatively quickly. The president is likely to be coming in much less prepared than Vladimir Putin.
KARL: That's the concern, that's the concern we have heard Democrats express and some Republicans, as well. And it was extraordinary. I thought, George, to listen to the opening comment, a lot of diplomatic niceties, compliments of Vladimir Putin, not only was there no mention of the election meddling, there was no mention of any of the other critical issues we have concerns including Crimea, interference in Ukraine and, of course, Syria.