In the simplest and potentially most effective clapback tweet of all time, Hillary Clinton blasted Trump for his Putin presser in Helsinki with four simple words: "well, now we know." The tweet was a followup to one she had posted about Trump the day before his trip to the summit, saying, "Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?"
Clinton's response to her own tweet (that we all now "know" which team Trump plays for) was a clearly barbed acknowledgement of Trump's now infamous behavior at the summit, in which he defended Putin's innocence over the findings of his own Intelligence Community, regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.
During a joint press conference at the end of their meeting, Trump was asked whether he believed the findings of his own intelligence agencies; just last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered an indictment of 12 Russian nationals for their "sustained efforts" in hacking into the email networks of Democrats.
Trump replied, “They think it’s Russia. I have President Putin — he just said it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
When he was asked directly who he believes more, Putin or his own intelligence community, Trump changed the topic by accusing Democrats of misconduct during the campaign. At another point, he 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,"
Clinton has long been critical of Trump's relationship to Putin and of Russian interference in the 2016 election. During the third and final presidential debate, Clinton said of Trump's accusation that Putin didn't respect then-president Barack Obama (as seen in the video below), "Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States."
Trump replied, "No puppet. No puppet. You're the puppet. No, you're the puppet."
Clinton continued to Trump, "You encouraged espionage against our people. You are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list: break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do. You continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race."
Beyond the 2011 election, Clinton and Putin had a long-established history in which the Russian president made it clear he did not like Clinton. In 2016, when Putin was facing mass demonstrations in his own country and a potential revolution against his leadership in the making, Putin reportedly blamed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her role in the affair.
Clinton had expressed "serious concerns" over the fairness of the parliamentary elections in Russia. Of her comments, Putin said, "She set the tone for certain actors inside the country; she gave the signal. They heard this signal and, with the support of the U.S. State Department, started actively doing their work."
Five years later, Clinton's campaign (as well as several cyber-security experts) claimed that a series of emails had been compromised by Russian hackers.
Now, Clinton is calling Trump out, along with several other notable Republicans and a wide range of publications and media outlets. CNN national correspondent John King called his conduct at the Helsinki summit so bad that it should be re-dubbed "the surrender summit".
At their joint press conference, Putin acknowledged Mueller's indictment of the 12 Russian nationals by offering to have his own Russian intelligence agencies work with Trump's intelligence community to "get to the bottom of the matter."
Of Putin's offer, Trump said, “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."