President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin opened their long-awaited summit Monday with a wink and slouch
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland
HELSINKI: US President Donald Trump emerged from a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday saying he saw no reason to believe Russia had hacked the 2016 US presidential election, and the Russian leader “was extremely strong and powerful” in denying it.
Trump held his meeting just days after a special prosecutor in the United States indicted 12 Russian agents for stealing Democratic Party documents to help him win the vote.
At a rambling news conference after one-on-one talks, Trump said not a single critical word about Russia on any of the issues that have brought relations between the Washington and Moscow to a post-Cold War low, from Ukraine to Syria.
Asked if he trusted US intelligence agencies, which concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Trump said he had been told by his CIA chief that Russia was to blame, but he was not certain.
“I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said.
“President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” Before the summit even began, Trump blamed his own country for the deterioration in relations.
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” The Russian foreign ministry “liked” his words and tweeted back: “We agree”.
Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018
At the news conference Trump was invited by reporters to offer even a single criticism of Russia, but repeatedly declined. Asked if Russia was at all to blame for the poor ties, he said: “I hold both countries responsible. I think the US has been foolish. We’ve all been foolish,” he said, before veering into discussion about his election victory.
“I beat Hillary Clinton easily and frankly we beat her…We won that race and it’s a shame that there can be even a little bit of a cloud over it,” he said.
Trump’s repeated warm words for Russia were a marked contrast from the past week when he repeatedly rebuked traditional US allies at a summit of NATO and a visit to Britain.
Asked if Putin was an adversary, he said: “Actually I called him a competitor and a good competitor he is and I think the word competitor is a compliment.”
Trump slams Russia probe after Putin talks
President Donald Trump says the Russia investigation has been a “disaster” for the United States and has kept America and Russia “separated.” Speaking during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, he reiterates that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russian government. Trump says he ran a “clean campaign” and he beat his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton “easily.” The president says it’s a “shame” there is a cloud over his administration. He says he ran a “brilliant campaign and that’s why I’m president.” Putin is pushing back against claims that his government interfered in the U.S.
Summit with Putin a ‘very, very good start’
President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin opened their long-awaited summit Monday with a wink and slouch, respectively, then talked one on one behind closed doors for two-plus hours before the American leader declared their meeting was off to a “very, very good start for everybody.”
Trump and Putin during their meeting in Finland’s capital Helsinki. Reuters
Neither leader revealed what was discussed. But in advance of the talks, Trump listed a series of topics that did not include Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. “We have not been getting along well for the last number of years,” Trump said after arriving at the Presidential Palace in Finland’s capital, where the leaders are meeting.
Royalty, the pope, and now Trump- Putin makes everyone wait
Famous for his tardiness at official talks, President Vladimir Putin did it again Monday – to U.S. President Donald Trump. Putin long has sought to meet with Trump, but the Russian leader was 35 minutes late to arrive at their closely watched summit in the Finnish capital.
Vladimir Putin Reuters
The delay followed a long tradition set since Putin’s first election in 2000. Famous victims of his lack of punctuality included Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Francis among many others. In 2014, he was hours late for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after his previous stop in Serbia lasted longer than usual, involving a protracted military parade.
Apparent protester removed ahead of Trump-Putin conference
An apparent protester has been escorted out of a joint press conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The individual, seated with the American press corps in Helsinki, was holding a sign about nuclear weapons. He identified himself as a reporter from the liberal magazine ‘The Nation.’
Security removes an apparent protester, right, before a joint press conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin AP
A US Secret Service agent spoke with the unidentified man, before Finnish security physically escorted him from the room minutes before the two presidents entered to begin their press conference.