The US intelligence community has concluded otherwise, and just on Friday the Justice Department announced charges against 12 Russian nationals as part of the special counsel's probe into Russian meddling in the election. "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", Brennan continued. "We only saw what Mr. Trump said during the press conference".
Mr Putin denied the claim.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, another Trump supporter, said, "I don't know what the president's mental calculation was in giving Putin a pass. I don't see any reason why it would be".
"For the president of the United States to side with President Putin against American law enforcement, American defense officials, and American intelligence agencies is thoughtless, dangerous, and weak", said Chuck Schumer, the senior Democrat in the Senate.
How did it play at home?
Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Trump's answer on meddling "will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness".
He added that there was "no question" Moscow had interfered in the 2016 election.
John McCain called the whole meeting a "tragic mistake".
Mr Ryan said: "Let's be very clear - Russian Federation meddled in our election".
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Putin critic, tweeted: "if it were me, I'd check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House".
However, while Stoltenberg gives Trump part of the credit, many North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members began increasing their defense spending prior to his taking office as the security concerns including Russia's military incursions into Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea as well as the rise of ISIS are also seen as contributing to the defense boost. The comments received strong criticism across the media world and even by some Republican members of Congress. Republican Patriots: "Where are you???" he tweeted.
"Sure, on the one hand, Russian Federation messed with the U.S. by meddling in the elections, but on the other hand, America held elections, so they were asking for it".
Some political commentators and Democratic critics of Trump called on his key national security aides to quit in the face of the president saying that he had "confidence" in both Putin and the USA intelligence community. "The president lays himself at Vladimir Putin's feet".
House Speaker Paul Ryan said there is "no question" Russian Federation interfered in the election. "We must make clear that the United States will not tolerate hostile Russian activities against us or our allies".
One of those people has since died.
"President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin", McCain said.