13:23 GMT +322 October 2019
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    U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018

    Trump Downplays "Russian Meddling", Throws FBI Prowess Into Question - Analyst

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    The July 16 Helsinki meeting has exceeded all expectations, apparently paving the way for more fruitful cooperation, Israeli political analyst Avigdor Eskin told Sputnik, stressing that US President Donald Trump has taken a risk by meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin amid the internal political struggle in Washington.

    The Helsinki meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart is an "excellent start," Israeli political analyst Avigdor Eskin told Sputnik.

    The analyst pointed out that Trump had even gone so far as to throw the alleged Russian meddling — the issue that has long been a "sacred cow" for the US establishment — into question.

    "Putin just said it's not Russia," the US president said during the joint press conference with his Russian counterpart. "I do not see any reason why it should be… I have great confidence in my intelligence people but President Putin was extremely strong and confident in his denial today."

    Trump reiterated his perplexity over the FBI's failure to examine the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) server that was allegedly hacked by the Russians: "I wonder why the FBI did not take the server. Where is the server? I want to know where it is, and what is the server saying?" he said, adding that the election dispute cannot be resolved "unless we know what happened to the server."

    Eskin underscored that Trump had challenged certain segments of the US intelligence community, which purportedly tried to undermine the legitimacy of his presidency.

    "The issue is not actually Russia but the internal rivalry between the US establishment and the administration of Donald Trump," the Israeli analyst opined. "There was a risk for President Trump to go as far as he did. But it is his strategy — to keep promises he is ready to break through the US establishment. It is unarguable that the détente with Russia is in the best interests of US."

    However, later Trump backtracked from his comments about the alleged Russian meddling in the US 2016 presidential race. Speaking with CBS News on Wednesday, the US president said that he accepted Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats' view that Russia continues to be a threat to the US election system.

    'The US-Russia Thaw is Here'

    In his interview ahead of the Helsinki summit, Eskin suggested that the US-Russia thaw was "already here." When asked whether the meeting met his forecast, the Israeli analyst highlighted that the event clearly surpassed all expectations.

    "First, there is no more estrangement," he said. "The two leaders will meet and talk on a regular basis. We also saw that both presidents agree on many aspects of a possible peace resolution in Syria. The whole atmosphere has changed. They both made history in Helsinki on July 16."

    Trump's Success is Regarded as a Challenge by His Opponents

    So, how will the situation unfold? According to Eskin, the struggle between Trump and the US establishment will continue.

    "Any progress and any victory by his administration are perceived by them as a great challenge," the Israeli political analyst underscored. "They are afraid that he will win again in 2020 presidential race and they have every reason to be afraid…"

    ​Eskin has called attention to the fact that over the past few months no official in the Trump administration was fired or resigned: "Nobody abandoned him," the analyst remarked. "It appears to be yet another victory for Trump."

    The Western left-leaning mainstream media has immediately subjected the US president to criticism. "This was the nightmare scenario," writes The Vanity Fair referring to the Helsinki meeting. "Trump, Putin and the betrayal of America," The Financial Times echoes. "Trump just gave Putin complete free rein," says The Washington Post.

    However, it appears that Trump is eager to throw some more gasoline on the fire: "While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way — the Fake News is going Crazy!" the US president tweeted.

    The views and opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    meeting, diplomacy, cooperation, Helsinki Summit, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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