U.S. President Trump says he has 'low expectations' for Putin meeting

Larry Hoffman
July 18, 2018

Universally sympathetic to Trump, they described him as hobbled by domestic political challenges - a problem Putin doesn't face after 18 years of stifling political opposition - and by special investigator Robert Mueller's probe of alleged Russian election interference.

Kosachev said it would be "pointless" to discuss Russian meddling in the US election, which Moscow firmly denies.

But asked directly whether he believed that assessment, Trump was noncommittal.

Trump set expectations for the summit low, telling CBS News, "I don't expect anything".

He said that Russian Federation is a foe "in certain respects" and that China is a foe "economically. but that doesn't mean they are bad". I have President Putin.

"Russia was much weaker, and the weak always try to appeal to global law", Lukyanov said.

"Today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory", said Sen.

"The president must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally", Ryan said.

A political maverick who is being unfairly targeted by his own compatriots - that's the common portrayal of Trump on Russia's largely Kremlin-friendly TV networks, websites and newspapers. "The United States must be focused on holding Russian Federation accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy".

Putin and Trump have met before. Trump ignored those warnings. The Russians said it lasted two hours and 10 minutes. Though the president has said he was "not happy" about Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, he puts the blame on his predecessor and says he will continue relations with Putin even if Moscow refuses to return the peninsula. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee.

Putin dismissed the idea during a post-summit news conference, though he did not explicitly deny it. But he said in Britain that he would raise it with Putin even as he downplayed its impact.

Trump quickly added, "If they had it, it would've been out by now". During World War II, "Russia lost 50 million people and helped us win the war", he said.

Panelists on popular Sunday night talk show "Vecher", or "Evening", said Putin goes into Monday's summit in Helsinki as the clearly stronger figure, notably coming off his hosting of the World Cup.

The meeting in Finland was the first stand-alone summit between the two leaders.

Trump said that in addition to the 2016 election, they discussed North Korea, Iran, nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

After complaining about USA missile defense plans as a major threat to Russia, Putin in March unveiled an array of new weapons he said would render the US missile shield useless, including a hypersonic intercontinental strike vehicle and a long-range nuclear-powered underwater drone armed with an atomic weapon. "I hadn't thought of that". In a CBS interview over the weekend, Trump drew little distinction between Western democracies that share history and values with the United States and authoritarian regimes in Moscow and Beijing. "I think it's ridiculous".

"There are enough of them for us to start paying attention", he said, sitting next to Trump before they shook hands. "Russia is foe in certain respects".

"China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe", he told CBS. "They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked". It doesn't mean anything.

McCain found the juxtaposition jarring. "That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisers makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable". "This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves", Graham said on Twitter.

"America and the European Union are best friends", Tusk wrote. "Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news". He has pointed to his efforts to boost USA oil exports and increase military spending as measures that would not win any points with Putin.

"CNN can now confirm Rod Rosenstein did in fact give Trump the option to delay announcing the Russian hacking indictment until *after* the Helsinki summit", he tweeted.

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". "We have been far tougher on Russian Federation than anybody".

Putin has held the door open for a possible deployment of United Nations peacekeepers to separate the warring sides, but firmly rejected Ukraine's push for their presence along the border with Russian Federation.

Putin knows it would be unrealistic to expect US recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea or a quick rollback of sanctions approved by Congress.

Trump said he and Putin would discuss a range of issues, from trade to the military, along with missiles and China.

Aides had warned before the meeting that it might not produce big "deliverables". The U.S. has accused Russian Federation of violating the terms of the treaty by developing a new cruise missile, which Moscow has denied.

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