Vladimir Putin

Given the attitude with which President Trump has greeted all news of the Russian interference in the 2016 election, his performance in Helsinki on Monday should have come as no surprise.

And yet there was surprise — even shock — when the president of the United States stood onstage alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and accepted the former KGB officer's denials regarding that interference.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

President Trump's effort to reset relations with Russia backfired at home after he failed to side with the U.S. intelligence community over Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. The president's equivocation drew bipartisan condemnation, capping a week in which Trump alienated allies and cozied up to adversaries.

Trump himself declared his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki a success, in what he called the "proud tradition of bold American diplomacy."

Updated at 5:40 a.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin took the oath of office for a fourth term as president – solidifying his place as the country's longest-serving leader since Communist dictator Josef Stalin. Putin easily won re-election in March after his chief opponent was disqualified.

The elaborate Kremlin ceremony took place at the Grand Kremlin Palace at noon Moscow time.