Hannity praises Trump on Putin press conference: 'You were very strong'

Fox News host Sean Hannity praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE's performance at a controversial news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, saying the U.S. leader was "very strong."

The Fox News host, a close friend of Trump and one of the president's most ardent media defenders, said that Trump was right to home in on questions about the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) handling of a 2016 cyberattack and the since-closed investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump rally: 'The time has come again' to fight for democracy Trump blasts minority Democrats, rally crowd chants 'send her back' The Memo: Democrats debate Trump response – 'Being righteous and losing sucks' MORE's use of a private email server.

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"You were very strong at the end of that press conference," Hannity said in Trump's first interview following the press conference. "You said: 'Where are the servers? What about what Peter Strzok says? Where are the 33,000 emails?' "

During the press conference, which came just after Trump held a highly anticipated summit with Putin, the president challenged the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia sought to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. 

The comments amounted to an extraordinary break from Trump's own Justice Department, which indicted 12 Russian officials days earlier for allegedly hacking Democratic servers during the 2016 campaign. 

Trump also sought to focus attention on the DNC's handling of the FBI's initial warning in 2016 that its server had been compromised by hackers and why 33,000 emails had been deleted from Clinton's email server as her email use became the subject of a federal investigation. 

In fact, thousands of those emails were later recovered. The FBI later concluded that Clinton was "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information, but ultimately declined to charge her with a crime.