Trump is sitting down alone with Putin Monday morning in Finland for a high-stakes meeting - especially in light of the indictment of 12 Russian military officials that the United States says hacked into Democratic candidate and committee emails in order to sow chaos in the 2016 election. "I think you see for yourself that these efforts failed, and they were never bound to succeed", he said. I will say this: "I don't see any reason why it would be", Trump said. He added that he and Putin "spent a great deal of time" on the issue of election meddling, and discussed the Syria crisis at length. "And we can't take ... on face value anything they tell us". He nodded along to some of Trump's remarks before they were translated, showcasing his fluency in English.
Coats slammed the president's doubts on Moscow's role in the presidential contest and said it was clear Russian Federation was "meddling" in a rare statement contradicting a president's televised press conference.
The body language was awkward, but television footage later showed Mr. Trump offering a stone-faced Mr. Putin a reassuring wink. In fact, Trump welcomed a surprise offer by Putin to help in the investigation.
The two leaders will hold a joint news conference after the meeting, where the men will ostensibly give details of what they spoke about.
Just hours before his meeting with Putin, Trump blamed "many years of USA foolishness and stupidity", in reference to previous administrations, and the ongoing Russian Federation probe for the bad state of bilateral relations. The drama was playing out against a backdrop of fraying Western alliances, a new peak in the Russian Federation investigation and fears that Moscow's aggression may go unchallenged.
This is the aspect of the encounter with Putin that may haunt Trump long after the arguments over its substantive meaning - in terms of U.S. -Russia relations, U.S. -E.U. relations, and the investigations into Russian election meddling and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign - have either faded or given way to horrifying new revelations.
'My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, some others, they said they think it's Russian Federation, ' the president said.
The two leaders were seated together in a room adorned by American and Russian flags at the Finnish Presidential Palace, separated by a small table.
It's not the first time Putin has pulled the stunt - he has previously been late for meetings with Queen Elizabeth, Pope Francis, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump and his aides have repeatedly tried to lower expectations about what the summit will achieve.
Defendants include four former Trump campaign and White House aides, three of whom have pleaded guilty and agreed to co-operate, and 13 Russians accused in a powerful social media campaign to sway USA public opinion in 2016.
But Trump, convinced his unique brand of diplomacy can make inroads with Putin, pressed ahead and looked forward to "having an extraordinary relationship" as the pair sat down to discuss everything from Syria, Ukraine and China to trade tariffs and the size of their nuclear arsenals.
Trump didn't warn Russian Federation, either, of any punishment should that country meddle with the 2018 elections, which would be held under Trump's watch.
In response to a question about whether he had wanted Mr. Trump to win the election, Mr. Putin said he did, because the businessman had pledged to improve ties between Washington and Moscow. "I think we get along well".
"I hope this message reaches Helsinki". "There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think".