At his Helsinki summit with President Trump, Vladimir Putin argued for letting bygones be bygones and opening a new era in U.S.–Russia relations, something Trump was happy to embrace. Trump went on to indulge in some unfortunate moral equivalence by stating that both countries bore the blame for the poor state of their relationship.

Why it matters: As was the case in Singapore, Trump exaggerated what had been accomplished at the summit. Indeed, little appeared settled in the way of policy other than perhaps a revival of arms control talks.

Simply by taking place, the summit further normalized Russia’s ties to the outside world, which have atrophied since its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Putin’s call for greater humanitarian help for Syria won the day’s chutzpah award given all that Russia has done to create that humanitarian crisis in the first place.

The most striking feature of what we know — and no one should forget that the length of the leaders' one-on-one meeting means we don’t know what we don’t know — was Trump’s refusal to back the assessments of his own intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Instead, Trump appeared once again to accept Putin's complete denial of Russian wrongdoing in the 2016 election. He even liked Putin’s self-serving suggestion that the two governments form a working group to investigate the matter. The indictments could have been used by Trump to press Putin, but his behavior only served to reinforce questions about why he has been so reluctant to confront Russia from the get-go.

The big picture: Helsinki should not be viewed in a vacuum. It was a worrisome and in many ways objectionable finale to a week that did much to undermine the foundations of U.S. foreign policy — especially NATO and the U.S.–U.K. special relationship — that have contributed so much to U.S. security, prosperity and influence for the better part of a century. Alas, the trip provided nothing that would take their place.

Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “A World in Disarray.”

Go deeper

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 31,467,508 — Total deaths: 967,881— Total recoveries: 21,583,915Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 6,890,662 — Total deaths: 200,710 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths — The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

GoodRx prices IPO at $33 per share, valued at $12.7 billion

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

GoodRx, a price comparison app for prescription drugs at local pharmacies, on Tuesday night raised $1.14 billion in its IPO, Axios has learned.

By the numbers: GoodRx priced its shares at $33 a piece, above its $24-$28 per share offering range, which will give it an initial market cap of around $12.7 billion.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

House Democrats and Trump admin strike deal to avert government shutdown

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 359-57.

Why it matters: The bill will avert a government shutdown when funding expires in eight days. Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said earlier that they hoped to hold a vote on the legislation on Tuesday evening.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!