"Indefensible." "Embarrassing." "Stunningly reckless."
That's what Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch, respectively, had to say in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's comments at a press conference Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
More from NPR — "The President From Helsinki: Trump Appearance With Putin Sparks Bipartisan Ire" [July 16]
The three members of Vermont's congressional delegation each issued statements Monday afternoon in the wake of the press conference.
Leahy provided a brief statement:
"This is the undermining of our security interests and of the American rule of law. It is as dangerous as it is shameful.
"It is all the more indefensible now that President Trump feels a need to stand up for Putin and Russia. As a Vermonter and United States senator I stand up for America."
Sanders commented on the press conference via his official Twitter account:
President Trump’s press conference with Putin was an embarrassing spectacle. Rather than make clear that interference in our elections is unacceptable, Trump instead accepted Putin’s denials and cast doubt on the conclusions of our intelligence community. This is not normal.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 16, 2018
In an email statement, Welch also commented on Robert Mueller's investigation:
"Donald Trump’s performance in Helsinki was stunningly reckless, even by his standards. On an international stage and with the world watching, the American president defiantly sided with a former KGB officer over U.S. intelligence agencies and the Justice Department, despite overwhelming evidence that Russia tried to sabotage our 2016 election. In doing so, he denigrated and undermined the important work of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. With Republican congressional leaders willing to look the other way, it’s clear that Robert Mueller is the only person in Washington capable of holding accountable those who enabled and participated in this unprecedented attack on America. I am confident Mr. Mueller watched this press conference with interest and that he will factor it into his methodical effort to find the truth."