Trump condemns Mueller investigation during summit with Putin

John Bolton with President Donald Trump

John Bolton with President Donald Trump Credit LEAH MILLIS REUTERS

He also continued to blame his predecessor, Barack Obama, for failing to stop Russia's efforts to sway the 2016 election in his favour, claiming that when Obama "was informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about Russian meddling, he said it couldn't happen, was no big deal, and did nothing about it".

Many in Washington were agog at Trump's decision to sit alone with Putin, anxious about what he might give away to the former KGB spymaster, after previously cosying up to the autocratic leaders of China and North Korea. A wary and robust stance toward Russian Federation has been a bedrock of his party's world view.

Gathered at the Finnish presidential palace, a historic venue where previous USA presidents have also gathered with their Russian and Soviet counterparts to tackle the complex bilateral relationship, Trump made clear at the outset that he hopes the meeting can help transform the relationship into an "extraordinary" one. We are the two great nuclear powers. "He just said it's not Russian Federation". "The president can put this on the table and say this is a serious matter, we need to talk about it". His skepticism drew a quick formal statement - nearly a rebuttal - from Trump's director of national Intelligence, Dan Coats. During his swing through Brussels and the United Kingdom, Trump has repeatedly criticized U.S. allies, called the European Union a "foe" and criticized the Obama administration rather than Russia in the wake of the Justice Department's indictment of 12 Russian agents who allegedly worked to hack Democrats' emails and computer networks during the 2016 election.

Putin is also chronically late for official events in Moscow, often because he lets preceding meetings run longer than expected.

"I never thought I would see the day when our American president would stand on the stage with the Russian president and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression". House Speaker Paul Ryan, who rarely criticizes Trump, stressed there was "no question" that Russian Federation had interfered.

"Putin has less to lose and more to gain because he does not have a domestic opposition, a potentially hostile legislature, and is not begin investigated like Trump".

Meanwhile, US lawmakers and political observers on both sides are warning Trump not to trust Putin. Republican Patriots: "Where are you-?"

Trump, bent on forging a personal bond with the Kremlin chief despite the election allegations, went into the summit blaming the "stupidity" of his predecessors for plunging ties to their present low. But after being asked about that by his interviewer, Trump said "certainly I'll be asking about it" although extradition is highly unlikely. House Speaker Paul Ryan said after the Trump-Putin news conference there's "no question" Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election and "remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals".

"Second, the President must demand that the 12 Russians named in the indictment be sent to the U.S.to stand trial".

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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.

While nobody on either side expects big breakthroughs, including on US sanctions, the summit is seen by Moscow as USA recognition of Russia's status as a great power and an overdue USA realization that its interests must be taken into account.

The call happened a few weeks after Putin showed the video during his address to the Russian parliament and before his re-election, Axios reports.

President Donald Trump Monday appeared to accept Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of interfering in the 2016 US presidential election, prompting a sharply critical response from USA lawmakers.

This morning, Trump tweeted: "Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of USA foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!".

The Russian foreign ministry "liked" Trump's comments on Twitter ahead of the summit, in which Trump denounced the investigation into Russian meddling in American elections as well as previous U.S. policy.

Trump said the two also discussed nuclear proliferation, calling it "one of the most critical challenges facing humanity", as well as Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month.

"Our relationship has never been worse; however, that changed as of four hours ago", Trump told reporters.

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