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Trump Tries to Push Back Against Backlash Over Helsinki Summit With Putin

Donald Trump stepped up his public criticism of the Helsinki summit he attended with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July and signaled that he could make Americans for fear of American retribution before leaving on his international trip.

“I think that the president is incredibly strong,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said in an interview. “He’s not going to be dictated to by anybody.”

Senator Rand Paul, another Republican from Kentucky, said Mr. Trump was sticking up for Americans with his comments at home and abroad.

“There’s a lot of people who fear our military forces disappearing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. “And the idea that there is a secret plan, from what I hear, is wrong and should be stopped.”

Meanwhile, a group of liberal media organizations gathered on the lawn of the White House to denounce the retreat Mr. Trump is taking after he returns from his tour.

On Wednesday afternoon, several hundred men in dark suits and women in business attire streamed in to hear the two-hour event, organized by Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog organization.

The event was “a discussion of President Trump’s undermining of democracy and the journalistic credibility of journalists,” said Kevin Bankston, the executive director of Media Matters, which drew attendees from MSNBC, CNN, the Intercept, the Guardian, ThinkProgress, Storyful, and Jezebel.