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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Remains of Russia's last monarch Tsar Nicholas II are finally identified 100 years after he was killed alongside his wife and five children

  • Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered 100 years ago today
  • After he abdicated, his entire family was shot by Bolsheviks and hastily buried
  • A DNA analysis has now confirmed the identity of the alleged remains
  • Conclusive evidence was needed for the Russian Orthodox church to give the remains a full burial ritual
A century on from the death of Russia's last tsar, exhaustive DNA tests on his alleged remains have finally confirmed their authenticity.
The genetic tests could be a step towards the Russian Orthodox Church finally recognising the remains and burying them with full rites.
According to the Russian Investigative Committee, tsar Nicholas II, his wife, and their five children, who were shot dead by the Bolsheviks 100 years ago today, have finally been identified.
Tsar Nicholas II was also cousin of the British monarch, King George V.
Tsar Nicholas II (left) was a grandson of Queen Victoria and cousin of the British monarch, King George V (right). A century on from the death of Russia's last tsar, exhaustive DNA tests on his alleged remains have finally confirmed their authenticity
Tsar Nicholas II (left) was a grandson of Queen Victoria and cousin of the British monarch, King George V (right). A century on from the death of Russia's last tsar, exhaustive DNA tests on his alleged remains have finally confirmed their authenticity
Genetic tests ordered by the Russian Church - which disputed earlier results - 'confirmed the remains found belonged to the former Emperor Nicholas II, his family members and members of their entourage,' said the Investigative Committee, which probes serious crime and has been roped in to resolve the long-running debate.
The tests involved exhuming Nicholas's father Alexander III, proving 'they are father and son,' investigators said.
The Orthodox Church said it would consider the findings and praised the way the investigation was going.
The Bolsheviks shot the abdicated tsar, his German-born wife and their five children along with their servants and doctor on the night from July 16 to 17, 1918, as they were living under guard in the Urals city of Sverdlovsk, now Yekaterinburg.
The killers then hastily buried the remains, where they laid untouched until their discovery in 1979.
The bones of Nicholas, his wife and three of their children were interred in Saint Petersburg in 1998 but the Orthodox Church refused to give them a full burial service, disputing their authenticity after an investigation under President Boris Yeltsin in which the clergy felt sidelined.
Amid popular legend that one of the children may have survived, several pretenders claimed later to be Anastasia, one of the tsar's daughters, but these were never proven.
The genetic tests could be a step towards the Russian Orthodox Church recognising the remains and burying them with full rites. Tsar Nicholas II (pictured, left in the carriage) and his entire family were shot dead by the Bolsheviks 100 years ago today
The genetic tests could be a step towards the Russian Orthodox Church recognising the remains and burying them with full rites. Tsar Nicholas II (pictured, left in the carriage) and his entire family were shot dead by the Bolsheviks 100 years ago today
The bones of the tsar's only son Alexei and his daughter Maria were found separately in 2007 and have never been buried.
The issue touches on sensitive religious issues since the Orthodox Church has canonised the ex-tsar and his family as martyrs, making their bones holy relics.
Yet the Church's reluctance puzzles secular figures since previous DNA testing was carried out by international experts.
Some had expected the Church to recognise the remains in time for a full burial ahead of the centenary.
Church spokesman Vladimir Legoida in a statement said it would study the latest findings 'with attention' and praised the current investigation for its 'atmosphere of openness.'
The investigation is still ongoing and will include looking at historic documents.
Church leader Patriarch Kirill is to lead thousands in a procession on Monday night from the murder site to a monastery commemorating the victims.


Trump REFUSES to call Russia an 'adversary' in Fox News interview given BEFORE admitting he 'misspoke' on Russian interference, slams John Brennan and questions the 'timing' of the indictments for 12 of Putin's agents who meddled in 2016

  • The former CIA chief accused Trump on Monday of being 'wholly in the pocket of Putin' and his conduct 'nothing short of treasonous'
  • Brennan, who served under President Obama, is one of Trump's harshest critics
  • Trump slammed back in an interview with Tucker Carlson being aired Tuesday, calling him 'a very bad guy' 
  • Equated him to FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and to fired FBI boss James Comey claiming they were all 'being exposed for what they are'
  • Brennan was CIA chief during the 2016 election but has since  called the president a 'snake oil salesman'
  • Brennan doubled down on criticism Tuesday in appearance on NBC's Today show saying Trump was 'aiding, abetting, giving comfort to an enemy'
President Donald Trump wouldn't call Russia an adversary in an interview taped after his explosive press conference and before he read a statement acknowledging Russia did interfere in the U.S. elections.
Trump conducted the interview with Fox host Tucker Carlson after his Helsinki press conference where he created a firestorm by saying he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over the U.S. Intelligence Community, which concluded Russia did hack.
Carlson asked the president of Russia was the nation's 'chief adversary.'  
'Well they are a strong military,' Trump said, complimenting Russia. 'But their economy is much smaller as you know than China and I don't want to even use the word "adversary," we can all work together,' he said.
President Donald Trump wouldn't call Russia an adversary in an interview taped after his explosive press conference
President Donald Trump wouldn't call Russia an adversary in an interview taped after his explosive press conference
Trump conducted the interview with Fox host Tucker Carlson after his Helsinki press conference where he created a firestorm by saying he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over the U.S. Intelligence Community, which concluded Russia did hack
Trump conducted the interview with Fox host Tucker Carlson after his Helsinki press conference where he created a firestorm by saying he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over the U.S. Intelligence Community, which concluded Russia did hack
'We can do great. Everybody can do well and we can live in peace, but I think it's very, very important and I've watched your show a lot and I see how you're talking about the - really the magnificent size of China, you look at the size and what they've done in a fairly short period of time, that's because of a lot of bad leadership on behalf of the United States. We allowed that to happen,' Trump said.
The Fox host also asked Trump what he thought of the timing of the indictments of 12 Russian spies accused of carrying out the hack – perhaps suggesting the Justice Department wanted to influence his summit with Putin.  Trump was informed in advance.
'Well, I don’t think of the timing as much as I think of other timing. Barack Obama was President. I wasn’t President when this happened. Barack Obama was the President of the United States when all of this - this was pre - this was when I was getting elected, so I was being elected, and I guess, I assumed this stuff all took place in that area or before,' Trump said, keeping blame on his predecessor as he has done on Twitter.
Putin is pictured during the joint press conference with Trump in Helsinki, Finland
Putin is pictured during the joint press conference with Trump in Helsinki, Finland
'And he was President and they informed him of it and he did nothing. And then after I won, see, he thought Hillary was going to win, after I won, he said, "Oh, this is a big deal.." Trump continued.
'Well, it wasn’t a big deal as long as she won. So it's a disgrace, and frankly, it's a disgrace what's happening to our country,' he said.
Carlson also brought up Trump's rant about Democratic servers during his Helsinki press conference.   
'Would be possible for you to direct the Department of Justice, FBI to take possession of the server and have, assuming no government investigators looked at it, which seems to be case right now, and gets to the bottom of it,' he asked.
The DNC handed over data that a computer security firm pulled from the hacked server during the campaign, and the latest indictment makes detailed references to information on it. Trump brought up the server as well as raising a conspiracy theory about a Democratic IT staffer who worked for Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and who pleaded guilty to a bank fraud charge. 
'So as I've told you and the answer is absolutely, it is possible, and maybe at some point, it will be done, but I've wanted to stay out. My Department of Justice is the one branch, the one group that I'm very little involved and the same with the FBI,' Trump said, although he later laced into FBI lawyer Peter Stzrok.
'Am I disappointed that they're not looking at all of the crooked things taking place on the other side? Like the Pakistani man who left with these three servers- knew everything about Schultz, new everything, new Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and I think he had three servers. I believe they even have them, and they don’t want to use them, Trump said.
'Or the DNC, where the server was never taken by the FBI. They went in there and [Clinton campaign chair John] Podesta or somebody threw them out of the office. They said, "Get out of here." 
'Maybe if they go after other people, like there's no tomorrow. So, I have purposely - you understand that. I spoke to you about it before. As they said, "You're winning, don’t get involved," because I don't want to have people accuse me of anything, so I've stayed very much uninvolved, but am I allowed to be involved? Totally. Will I be involved? We'll have to see as it goes along,' Trump said.
Carlson asked asked Trump why his son should 'go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?' – a reference to the Article V treaty obligations that commit all member nations to coming to defense of the others.
NATO members mustered troops to defend the U.S. following Sept. 11th and put troops into Afghanistan.   
'I understand what you're saying. I've asked the same question. Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people,' the president offered.
'Yes, I'm not against - or Albania,' explained Carlson, mentioning another small nation on Russia's periphery.
'No, by the way ... They have very aggressive people. They may get aggressive and congratulations, you're in World War III, now I understand that - but that's the way it was set up,' he responded. 
Trump turned on the ex-CIA director who accused of treason after his meeting with Vladimir Putin, telling Fox News in an interview airing Tuesday: 'I think he's a very bad person.'
Former CIA director John Brennan is one of Trump's harshest critics
Former CIA director John Brennan is one of Trump's harshest critics
He slammed John Brennan repeatedly in comments released from his interview with Tucker Carlson, which he recorded immediately after one with the network's Sean Hannity.
'I think Brennan is a very bad guy, and if you look at it, a lot of things happened under his watch,' Trump told Carlson.
'I think he's a very bad person.'
Brennan's tweeted criticism on Monday shortly after the press conference with the Russian president included a call for impeachment.
On Tuesday the former chief spy doubled down, telling NBC's Today show that he was right to warn about treason.
'When I use the term, this is nothing short of treasonous I equate it to the betrayal of one's nation, aiding, abetting, giving comfort to an enemy,' he said.
'The president had the chance to warn Putin, to tell him, "Do not do this again" and he failed to even meet the minimum standards of that.'
He slammed Trump on twitter after the president's press conference with Putin
He slammed Trump on twitter after the president's press conference with Putin
President Trump and President Putin spoke to the press after their meeting in Helsinki 
President Trump and President Putin spoke to the press after their meeting in Helsinki 
Twitter attack: McCain used the president's preferred medium to trail the attack on Trump
Twitter attack: McCain used the president's preferred medium to trail the attack on Trump
But Trump equated the former Obama official to a series of his favorite targets at the FBI: anti-Trump lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, fired director James Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe.
'I also think that when you watch Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, when you watch all of the things that have happened - Comey, you take a look at that and McCabe who has got some pretty big problems I assume, you look at the deception, the lies – these are people that in my opinion are truly bad people, and they’re being exposed for what they are,' the president said.   
Brennan spoke out on Monday amid a firestorm of bipartisan criticism.
John McCain labeled Trump's press conference 'one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in history', and other Republicans also joined the criticism, with Paul Ryan saying: 'Russia is not our ally.'
And Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, tweeted: 'What do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically?'
Brennan has been one of the president's harshest critics. And he was CIA chief during the 2016 election when the Obama administration was said to have known Russia was trying to interfere in the presidential contest.  
He has not held back in the harsh language he uses to describe the president. 
In June op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post, Brennan called Trump a 'snake-oil salesman' who has shown 'mean-spirited, malicious, and highly abnormal behavior.'
Trump fired back. He attacked Brennan on Twitter after the op-ed appeared, quoting a former Secret Service agent who appeared on 'Fox & Friends' and called Brennan a liar. 
In March, after FBI agent Andrew McCabe was fired, Brennan tweeted to Trump: 'When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but will not destroy America... America will triumph over you.'
On Monday, the former CIA chief was expressing his fury that the president declined to back the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Putin denied Russia had any role in the election.
Trump was asked if he believed his Russian counterpart or his intelligence chiefs. 'I don't see any reason why it would be' Russia, the president said.   
'I have great confidence in my intelligence people,' he added, 'but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that's an incredible offer.' 
Brennan wasn't the only former intelligence official to express disbelief at Trump's statement.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who served during the Obama administration,  said the press conference was 'truly unbelievable.'
'On the world's stage, in front of the entire globe, the President of the United States essentially capitulated and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin. So it was amazing and very, very disturbing,' Clapper said on CNN Monday afternoon. 
Putin was asked in Monday's presser if he had any dirt on Trump or his family. 
The Russian president said he didn't know Trump was in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant.  
'When President Trump was in Moscow back then, I didn't even know that he was in Moscow,' he said. 'Please disregard these issues and don't think about this anymore again.' 
The president said if the Russians had anything, it would have come out. 
'If they had it, it would have been out long ago,' Trump said.


Defiant Trump calls his Putin summit a 'great success' - hours after he tried to end the crisis by saying he DOES believe Russia meddled in 2016, but was cut off by John Kelly turning off the lights

  • Trump made the first major climbdown of his presidency Tuesday over his press conference with Putin - but with a truculent tone and a dig at his own spies
  • He then tweeted on Tuesday night calling his Putin summit a 'great success'
  • His own party had flamed him over his equivalence of U.S. intelligence agencies with Putin's denial at Helsinki press conference 
  • Reading from a prepared statement he said he misspoke when he stood beside Vladimir Putin and said he 'saw no reason why it would be' Russia
  • 'The sentence should have been, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia,' Trump said. 'I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself' 
  • Trump said he was surprised by the firestorm that awaited him when he arrived on Monday in Washington and realized he needed to 'clear up' his comments
  • Statement, at a White House round table with Republicans, took surreal twist as John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, turned out the lights by mistake
  • Then Trump quipped: 'That must be the intelligence agencies'
  • Even allies of the president were telling him on Tuesday that he needed to 'reverse course' and issue a clarification 
  • He scrawled a misspelled addition to the script saying:  'there was no colusion'  
  • But some television commentators compared it to a 'hostage video' - setting up the possibility of further angry backlash from Trump against the coverage 
President Trump has called his Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin a 'huge success' just hours after saying that he misspoke when he said he saw no reason to believe Russia had interfered in the 2016 US election.
A defiant Trump tweeted Tuesday night that the 'meeting between President Putin and myself was a great success, except in the Fake News Media!'
It came just hours after he spoke directly to cameras on Tuesday afternoon in an effort to blunt criticism of a press conference with Putin at which he let the Russian president off the hook for election interference.
Glancing at a printed statement that he had marked up with hand-written edits throughout his remarks, Trump said he accepts his intelligence community's assessment that Russia meddled in the election - although it could be other people also - and said he meant to say yesterday that he had no reason to doubt the professionals within his administration.
'I accept our intelligence community conclusion that Russian meddling in the 2016 election took place,' Trump said. 'Could be other people also, a lot of people out there,' he added. 'There's no collusion at all.'
And there was a second dig at his own most senior spies as Trump's chief of staff John Kelly accidentally switched off the lights, plunging the White House cabinet room into temporary darkness and prompting Trump to quip: 'That must be the intelligence agencies.' 
Trump said he was surprised by the firestorm that awaited him when he arrived on Monday in Washington and realized he needed to 'clear up' his comments after reviewing the transcript of his presser with Putin. The president said that he has the 'greatest respect' for his intelligence chiefs.
'The sentence should have been, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia,' Trump said. 'So you can put that in. I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.' 
President Trump has called his Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin a 'huge success' just hours after saying that he misspoke when he said he saw no reason to believe Russia had interfered in the 2016 US election
President Trump has called his Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin a 'huge success' just hours after saying that he misspoke when he said he saw no reason to believe Russia had interfered in the 2016 US election
President Trump in the first major retreat of his administration said that he misspoke at his Helsinki summit when he said that he had 'no reason' to think that Russia meddled in the 2016 election
President Trump in the first major retreat of his administration said that he misspoke at his Helsinki summit when he said that he had 'no reason' to think that Russia meddled in the 2016 election

Trump's senior advisers stood on the edges of the room as he delivered the remarks that preceded a session with GOP lawmakers on tax reform. National Security Adviser John Bolton and the president's daughter Ivanka looked on as Trump made his unprecedented about-face.
Lingering in the back of the room, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, accidentally turned off the lights, temporarily darkening the room, according to a Washington Post photographer who was part of the press pool.
'Whoops they just turned off the lights, that must be the intelligence agencies,' Trump joked in response. 'That was strange. But that's okay.'
The incident had a tinge of irony as the White House scrambled Tuesday to the veil darkness that had been cast over the president's Helsinki summit.     
Trump stressed in 15 minutes of remarks that he did not mean to give Putin a pass for election hacking. In fact, he said, unlike his predecessor, 'who totally buried it,' his administration, by contrast, 'has taken a very firm stance' against Russia's bad behavior.
'President Obama was given information just prior to the election, last election 2016 and they decided to not do anything about it. The reason they decided not to do that was pretty obvious because they thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election,' he charged.
Tight shots of the president's statement revealed that he had scribbled out a section that instructed him to say, 'Now, I understand there are some in Washington who don't want diplomacy. This rejection of diplomacy is the same mindset that dragged us into Iraq and Libya.'
The president had clearly marked up notes given to him by aides before the remarks
The president had clearly marked up notes given to him by aides before the remarks
OOPS: Lingering in the back of the room, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly bushed up against up the light switch  - shutting it off in the middle of the address
OOPS: Lingering in the back of the room, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly bushed up against up the light switch  - shutting it off in the middle of the address
Trump had several edits to the copy that his communications aides drafted for him, one of which was, 'There was no collusion'
Trump had several edits to the copy that his communications aides drafted for him, one of which was, 'There was no collusion'
He also skipped over a line that said 'any fool can start a war but real courage is forging peace.'  
The president said that he had planned to have a news conference this week to capitalize on the success of his foreign trip. 
Instead his emergency statement was followed by no questions, and no White House briefing.  
'We have never been in a worse relationship with Russia than we are as of a few days ago,' he said, 'and I think that's gotten substantially better.'
'So I'll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies. Always have. And I have felt very strongly that, while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election,' he said.
And then, in the biggest backtrack of his presidency Trump said, 'It should have been obvious — I thought it would be obvious — but I would like to clarify, just in case it wasn't. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't.' 
'The sentence should have been: I don't see any reason why I wouldn't — or why it wouldn't be Russia. So just to repeat it, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't.' 
'And the sentence should have been — and I thought it would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video — the sentence should have been: I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia. Sort of a double negative.'
Trump said: 'I have, on numerous occasions, noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections. Unlike previous administrations, my administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repeal any efforts — and repel — we will stop it, we will repel it — any efforts to interfere in our elections. We're doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018. '
The White House signaled that Trump would making significant remarks on the subject when it said in a lunchtime announcement that a 2 pm meeting with Members of Congress that had been closed to press would be opened up so that the president could make remarks on his trip to Finland.
Afterwards the White House released a lengthy bullet point list of what it said were actions which showed it was tough on Russia.
But on television, commentators called his statement a 'hostage video' - a reaction which is likely to prompt its own angry backlash from Trump as he watches television coverage of the statement. 
Trump has been raked over the coals for claiming that Russia had 'no reason' as far as he can see to have carried out an election hacking scheme that his own intelligence officials have linked to the Kremlin. 
He said that while he has 'great confidence' in his intelligence officers, 'President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial' that it directly involved Russia.  
Arriving in the U.S. on Monday night, the president ignored questions from reporters. He let a Fox News interview he did with Sean Hannity just before his Helsinki departure be the final word that day on the controversial summit.
The president launched a late defense of his meeting with Putin as Democrats and the media panned as 'treasonous,' 'disgusting,' and 'disgraceful.' Not only was it great, he said on Twitter, it was 'even better' than one he had a few days prior with America's security alliance. 
As he weathered heavy criticism for fawning over the strongman who the U.S. intelligence community says was behind 2016 hacking, Trump declared victory in his Helsinki and NATO summits.
He settled on a regular target for characterizing his Putin presser as anything less than a success -- the media.  
'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!' he said.
President Trump said Tuesday that not only was his meeting with Vladimir Putin great - it was better than one he had a few days prior with America's security alliance
President Trump said Tuesday that not only was his meeting with Vladimir Putin great - it was better than one he had a few days prior with America's security alliance
The usual suspects had torn into the president for complimenting Putin and siding against U.S. intelligence officers in their assessment that the Kremlin ordered the 2016 election disruption, but so had prominent hosts on Fox News
The usual suspects had torn into the president for complimenting Putin and siding against U.S. intelligence officers in their assessment that the Kremlin ordered the 2016 election disruption, but so had prominent hosts on Fox News
The usual suspects had torn into the president for complimenting Putin and siding against U.S. intelligence officers in their assessment that the Kremlin ordered the 2016 election disruption.
But Trump was also taking fire from Fox News hosts, including Shep Smith and Neil Cavuto, and members of his inner circle like Anthony Scaramucci and Newt Gingrich.
Former CIA director John Brennan had blasted Trump's press conference with Putin on Monday as 'nothing short of treasonous' in high profile remarks, as well.
He accused the president of being 'wholly in the pocket of Putin' and the presser 'rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.'
'It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???,' said Brennan, who served as the nation's intelligence chief when the meddling was occurring during the presidency of Barack Obama.
Trump told Tucker Carlson in a Fox News interview airing Tuesday that was taped after the comment: 'I think Brennan is a very bad guy, and if you look at it, a lot of things happened under his watch. 
'I think he's a very bad person,' the president contended.
Republican Sen. John McCain also labeled Trump's press conference 'one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in history,' and House speaker Paul Ryan said, 'Russia is not our ally.'
And Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, tweeted: 'What do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically?'
GOP Sen. Ben Sasse said Tuesday on Fox, 'This isn't complicated' and there is 'no moral equivalency' between the Untied States and Russia.
'Putin is a thug and he attacked America,' he said. 'Man we were weak yesterday on the global stage.'
Sasse called Trump's public comments about Putin 'goofy' and 'bizarre' at the news conference where the Russian leader awarded Trump the World Cup championship game ball. 
Trump roundly blamed the media for the failure of his summit, arguing that it was the 'fake news' that was blowing him up.
Yet, even his former White House communications director, Scaramucci, was advising him on Tuesday to 'reverse course immediately' and correct what he characterized on CNN as a 'major mistake.'
He added: 'This is not a mistake of words, by the way, this is not a bad PR kerfuffle. This is a mistake of strategy and execution. This is a mistake of thinking.'
'The President is conflating the two issues. He's tying the collusion accusation to the irrefutable evidence that the Russians meddled in the election,' the ex-Trump said.
Scaramucci said Trump has 'got to knock it off,' or else 'unnatural alliances will build up in Washington and outside of Washington.'
On 'Fox & Friends,' the influential morning show in the Trump era because the president is known to watch it every day, host Brian Kilmeade conceded that Trump had made an unforced error.
Kilmeade said Trump's conduct was 'something that needs to be corrected' and suggested he take to Twitter to address the criticism.
'It's correctable. It's still early. He can start by even tweeting something out today,' Kilmeade said.
Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo went even further on her daytime show, 'Mornings with Maria,' contending that Trump's press conference was 'probably the low point of the presidency so far' and asserting there is 'no question' Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
'But the president didn't want to address it in front of Vladimir Putin,' she said, 'which is a head-scratcher.'
Back from an off-site event, Ivanka Trump was at the White House on Tuesday to participate in the tax reform event where the president made the remarks
Back from an off-site event, Ivanka Trump was at the White House on Tuesday to participate in the tax reform event where the president made the remarks
The White House announced later in the day that President Trump would defend his Helsinki summit directly to cameras in an effort to blunt criticism. 
Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said a 2 pm meeting with Members of Congress that had been closed to press would be opened up so that the president could make remarks on his trip to Finland.
Trump was still being raked over the coals for claiming that Russia had 'no reason' as far as he can see to have carried out an election hacking scheme that his own intelligence officials have linked to the Kremlin. 
Sen. Rand Paul, an unlikely figure within the GOP, emerged as the president's sole defender as President Trump continued to take a beating.
The libertarian lawmaker, who has been a swing vote for Trump's agenda, said that the Republican president had been unfairly hit with an 'onslaught' of allegations since he took office, when it was Hillary Clinton's campaign that is known to have funded a dossier of dirt on her opponent.
Trump promptly rewarded him with a tweet that proclaimed 'you really get it' as he watched the bad reviews of his performance in Helsinki roll in.
A day before, Trump had said that while he has 'great confidence' in his intelligence officers, 'President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial' that it directly involved Russia.
An unlikely figure within the GOP came to the president's defense on Tuesday morning as President Trump took a beating in the press for his news conference with Vladimir Putin -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
An unlikely figure within the GOP came to the president's defense on Tuesday morning as President Trump took a beating in the press for his news conference with Vladimir Putin -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
Putin on Monday denied Russia had any role in the election and offered to interrogate a dozen of his country's nationals who were indicted last Friday in the special counsel investigation.
Asked at a joint news conference with Putin if believed his Russian counterpart or his intelligence chiefs, Trump said he doesn't 'see any reason' why Putin's government would have hacked the Democratic National Committee.
'My people came to me — Dan Coats came to me and some others — they said they think it's Russia,' the president said of his director of national intelligence. 'I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russia.'
He added: 'I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server.'
Trump said, 'I have great confidence in my intelligence people.
'But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that's an incredible offer,' Trump said.
Brennan expressed total disbelief at Trump's news conference.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who served during the Obama administration, said it was 'truly unbelievable.'
'On the world's stage, in front of the entire globe, the President of the United States essentially capitulated and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin. So it was amazing and very, very disturbing,' Clapper said Monday on CNN.
WASN'T ME: Asked at a joint news conference with Putin if believed his Russian counterpart or his intelligence chiefs, Trump said he doesn't 'see any reason' why Putin's government would have hacked the Democratic National Committee
WASN'T ME: Asked at a joint news conference with Putin if believed his Russian counterpart or his intelligence chiefs, Trump said he doesn't 'see any reason' why Putin's government would have hacked the Democratic National Committee
Trump's current DNI, Coats, countered Trump in a statement and said that Russia was clearly involved in the interference in the last election.
'We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy,' he said in a statement on Monday, 'and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.'
Trump tweeted from Air Force One on Monday as he travelled back to the United States that he has 'GREAT confidence' in his intelligence team but 'in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past.'
'As I said today and many times before, '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! #HELSINKI2018,' he wrote. 

Four years after police chokehold victim Eric Garner died, there's a teddy bear and barely justice

They remembered him with a cuddly teddy bear.
On the Staten Island street where he died four years ago Tuesday at the hands of police, Eric Garner was memorialized with a large stuffed bear — its arms folded and its eyes looking skyward.
“I came in this morning and saw it there. Then I quickly realized it was for Eric,” said Aisha Diallo, 29, who works at Bay Beauty Supply on Bay St. in Tottenville. “It wasn’t there last night. It’s a nice way to remember him. I mean, he died right there. It’s sad.”
Later, in Harlem, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, decried the Justice Department and the NYPD for dragging their feet in their seemingly endless investigation into his death following Officer Daniel Pantaleo placing him in a banned chokehold. At Police Headquarters, the NYPD released a letter saying it would move ahead with the long-awaited disciplinary case against Pantaleo in September.

"Its been four painful years. We're still fighting and there's no justice," Carr said. “I still have sleepless nights. I still have nightmares. I have pain. I have dark nights, and I have dark days. But I’m going to continue this fight.”

Garner, 43, himself a bear of a man, allegedly was selling loose cigarettes on Bay St. when Pantaleo and other cops approached him and tried to put him in handcuffs. As captured on bystander Ramsey Orta’s now-famous video, Pantaleo put his arm around Garner’s throat, and the doomed man began gasping and repeating, “I can’t breathe.” His death, after protesting 11 times that he couldn’t breathe, became one of the cases that fueled the Black Lives Matter movement against police abuse. The city settled with his family for $5.9 million.

“It is a move in the right direction, but it must move forward,” Sharpton said, referring to the NYPD decision to pursue a disciplinary case. “This should have happened long ago … The federal government should (also) still be moving forward on the charges.”

Sharpton noted the Justice Department recently reopened the 60-year-old case of the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till.

“It seems the height of hypocrisy that the Justice Department is going to reopen a case on Emmett Till that’s 60 years old and not (move) forward on a case that’s four years old,” Sharpton said.

Pantaleo remains on desk duty without his gun and shield, but records show he has continued to make more money in each year since Garner died.

Even after the NYPD severely reduced his overtime, Pantaleo was paid more than $120,000 last year -- his biggest annual paycheck since joining the New York Police Department. He made about 5% more than the $114,100 he was paid in 2016.

That increase came despite the city’s decision in late 2016 to review how the NYPD pays overtime to cops suspected of wrongdoing. Pantaleo made more than $23,000 in overtime in fiscal 2016, but that amount was cut to about $6,900 the following year, payroll records show. Even so, he saw a nearly 11% increase to his base pay because of the new NYPD detectives contract, along with a hefty sum that sources say likely came from back pay doled out as part of the contract negotiation.

Last year was a banner one for Pantaleo: In addition to his best payday, he tied the knot on June 17, 2017. He celebrated his marriage to Alicia Cross at a reception at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, N.J.

Carr said she has not given up hope that the cops will be held accountable.

“I’m always going to have faith because the whole world has seen what happened to my son recorded on video. So of course I have faith that they are going to make the right decision,” she said.

Garner’s wife, Esaw Snipes, now raising her grandchildren outside the city, said she has given up faith in the Justice Department, and she said she misses her husband and their daughter, Erica Garner, 27, who died from a heart attack Dec. 30.

"I will never get over the loss of my husband and the loss of my daughter. We miss them every day, but I cannot spend my life doing all this (demanding justice),” she said.”We have moved on. We have our first home and I am raising my grandchildren."

Snipes said the family was planning a private memorial for Eric Garner on Tuesday.

Civil rights advocates and City Council members also weighed in on the anniversary.

“It's beyond 'about time' and there's no justification for the Justice Department's inertia,” City Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-S.I.) said.

Community organizer Carolyn Martinez-Class called the NYPD move “more political theater from the de Blasio administration.”

“It lays bare the lie that the NYPD’s hands were tied from disciplining officers,” she said.”Multiple officers used excessive force while Pantaleo used a chokehold banned by the NYPD for over 20 years — others did nothing to intervene as Garner said he couldn't breathe 11 times.”

On Monday, Garner’s friends also cast their thoughts back to him.

“Eric was a big teddy bear. He was my friend and I miss him. He never bothered nobody,” said Anthony Hardy, 64. “He was very outspoken. It’s been four years. It seems so fast, man.”

Hardy said the teddy bear brought a bittersweet smile to his face when he saw it Monday morning.

“I thought about Eric when I saw it. He was a big a — teddy bear,” he said. “It reminded me of him. He was a good man. All he did was take care of his family.”

He echoed what many people still feel, that Gardner was cheated out of his life first, and then justice.

“He didn’t get no justice. The cop who killed him is still out there,” he said. “There hasn’t been justice here. I believe in divine justice. Maybe he’ll face justice when he goes to hell. He’s not going to heaven.”

Ellen Gray, 65, said the community feels wronged.

“They (the officers) are still working and he’s dead. He suffered like a dog,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, he didn’t get no justice.”

Hardy said the stretch of street will always be Garner’s block.

“I miss Eric Garner. I miss that guy,” he said.

Gray nodded somberly.

“I miss him, too, man,” she said.