House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) stated on Monday that "there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world."
Ryan's statement was released after President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at a summit in Helsinki, Finland and spoke at a joint press conference.
Putin told reporters Russia "has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs." Trump added that "[Putin] just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be."
Last week, the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Democratic officials in an effort to support Trump’s presidential bid.
Referring to his run in 2016, Trump insisted the reason he was elected was that he "ran a brilliant campaign." He also argued special counsel Robert Mueller had found no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia.
Trump was called out by several Republican lawmakers for his unwillingness to explicitly condemn Russia for interfering in the election.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Trump missed an opportunity "to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections." Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) called Trump’s remarks "bizarre and flat-out wrong."
Former CIA Director John Brennan, who has been critical of the Trump administration, used stronger words to describe the press conference. "It was nothing short of treasonous," he tweeted. "Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin."
Ryan made it clear Russia should be seen as an adversary. "The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally," his statement read.
On the subject of Russian interference, Ryan noted that Russia’s culpability "is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence."
"There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals," Ryan stated.