President Trump and Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki, Finland
HELSINKI (KUSI) – Monday, President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a highly-anticipated summit in Helsinki, Finland. Following their meeting, the two leaders held a press conference regarding relations between the United States and Russia.
“We have not been getting along well for the last number of years,” President Trump said after arriving at the Presidential Palace in Finland’s capital, where the leaders met for the day. “But I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship. … I really think the world wants to see us get along.”
The summit began just hours after President Trump blamed the United States for the low-point in U.S.-Russia 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 responded by liking Trump’s tweet and then replying: “We agree.”
We agree https://t.co/7l087Qwmj3
— MFA Russia ???????? (@mfa_russia) July 16, 2018
Asked about the tweet and whether he held Russia responsible for anything, Trump said, “I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. We’ve all been foolish,” Trump said.
“Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that,” Trump said.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin said Monday he did want Donald Trump to win the 2016 U.S. presidential election but took no action during the campaign to make it happen. He said he favored the celebrity businessman because of his policies.
“The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere in internal American affairs, including election process,” said President Putin.
President Putin says that Moscow and Washington could jointly conduct criminal investigations into Russian intelligence officials accused of hacking during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.
Asked if Russia could extradite 12 Russian military intelligence officers indicted in the U.S. last week on charges of hacking into the Democratic election campaign, Putin challenged the U.S. to take advantage of a 1999 agreement envisaging mutual legal assistance.
He said the agreement would allow U.S. officials to request that Russian authorities interrogate the 12 suspects, adding that U.S. officials could request to be present in such interrogations.
Toward the end of the press conference, an AP reporter asked President Trump, “would you…, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and warn him to never do it again?”
President Trump responded by saying, “So let me just say that we have two thoughts: You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months, and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying? I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have – I have confidence in both parties. I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone, just gone.”
Plus, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected allegations that Moscow has collected compromising materials on U.S. President Donald Trump or his family.
Asked during a joint news conference following their summit in Helsinki, the Russian leader dismissed the claims as “sheer nonsense.”
Putin said that he hadn’t been aware of Trump’s visit to Moscow a few years before his 2016 election, which has been stained by accusations that Russians hacked and interfered in the campaign to support Trump.
Putin, a former KGB agent, scoffed at the notion that the Russian security services try to gather incriminating materials on businessmen, saying: “Do you really believe that we try to shadow every businessman?”
Congressman Darrell Issa was asked about the summit shortly after it ended. “I think just last week, in these very halls, we saw an example of the FBI not being trustworthy. We saw the downgrading of Hillary Clinton’s criminal activity, the words being changed on Peter Strzok’s own computer. So, for the President to cast doubt is not unreasonable. At the same time, we take those charges seriously. I personally would neither rule in nor rule out the validity of a very interesting and odd timed indictment of people who could never be brought to justice” he explained. Issa’s full comment can be seen below.