Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

"Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russian Federation accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections".

Other noteworthy moments during the conference included Trump saying that he believes Putin's denial of interference in the US election, despite the recent USA indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee: "President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today".

But Trump attempted to keep the atmosphere upbeat, saying: 'Getting along with Russian Federation is a good thing, not a bad thing.

The two men held almost two hours of closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday. "As we welcome the presidents to the summit in Finland, we want to remind them of the importance of free press".

President Donald Trump addresses a Russian reporter about Germany's gas pipeline deal with Russia.

"I don't see any reason why it would be" Russia, Trump said.

Last week, U.S. authorities indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential vote.

"Distinguished colleague, let me tell you this: When President Trump was in Moscow back then, I didn't even know that he was in Moscow". "Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this risky behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump". Trump leaned forward in his chair, his hands tented in front of him and frequently glanced over at the Russian president.

Wrapping up his remarks, Trump initiated a brief handshake with Putin as the assembled press jostled to capture the moment.

A lot of the questions focused on Russia's intrusion into the U.S. election campaign (the considered position of the key United States intelligence agencies) and specifically the indictment by the Mueller probe of 12 Russian intelligence agents.

Mr Trump would have none of it. Mr Trump seemed to return the favour by waiting until Mr Putin had arrived at the palace before leaving his hotel. And he even welcomed Mr Putin's suggestion that Russian Federation could join the investigation and interview the alleged perpetrators itself! Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and many seasoned observers on Capitol Hill must have been watching in horror. Netanyahu "greatly appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russian Federation and expressed the clear position President Putin on the need to maintain the separation agreements between Israel and Syria in 1974", the statement also read.

"We are aware of the stance of President Trump, and I think that we, as a major oil and gas power, and the United States as a major oil and gas power as well, we could work together on regulation of global markets, because neither of us is actually interested in the plummeting of the prices", the Russian president said.

"As far as Syria is concerned the task of establishing peace and reconciliation in this country could be the first showcase example of successful joint work", the U.S. leader said. The US and Russian Federation back opposing sides in the eight-year-old civil war.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in a statement that "Russia attempted to undermine the fundamentals of our democracy, impugn the reliability of the 2016 election, and sow the seeds of discord among Americans" and that he hoped Trump administration leaders "will be able to communicate to the President it is possible to conclude Russian Federation interfered with our election in 2016 without delegitimizing his electoral success".

He added that the U.S. wanted to increase humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

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