Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump share awkward handshake at Helsinki summit

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump share awkward handshake at Helsinki summit

Despite clear interest in Russia in Putin's meeting with Trump, the summit wasn't the No. 1 item on many Russian newscasts or websites Monday: That honor went to the World Cup, and Russia's own global image. The summit also started almost an hour late.

President Donald Trump faced pressure to aggressively question Russian President Vladimir Putin on meddling by Moscow in the 2016 presidential election when the two leaders meet Monday in Helsinki.

Trump and his wife, Melania, were greeted warmly on Sunday in Finland, the final stop on their weeklong trip that began last Tuesday.

"Nothing bad is going to come out of it (Helsinki), and maybe some good will come out", Trump said. "When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!"

But he added: "Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia.over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn´t good enough - that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!"

He told Glor that he "hadn't thought about" asking Putin for the extradition of the Russian agents, but he said he might bring it up.

And former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan said Trump's behavior at the news conference "rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous".

Kremlin officials say Putin is expected to once again deny that any Russians meddled in the USA election.

"I find it hard to believe, but that's what one of the purposes of this meeting is, so the president can see eye-to-eye with President Putin and ask him about it, " Bolton told ABC's "This Week".

Taking to Twitter, President Trump blasted critics saying "all the [Democrats] know how to do is obstruct".

After their joint news conference in Helsinki, Russia media also took some swipes at US journalists for focusing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election that brought Trump to power.

I was directly involved in the planning and execution of all five of Ronald Reagan's Summit meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev (Geneva, Reykjavik, Washington, Moscow and New York) and in all the planning we did for the first Summit, we failed to recommend what the president should say on the first handshake with Gorbachev.

The Helsinki meeting comes less than a week after the Justice Department announced the indictments of 12 Russian military intelligence officials for allegedly engaging in a "sustained effort" to hack Democrats' emails and computer networks during the 2016 election campaign.

"Presidents Trump and Putin respect each other and they get along well", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russian Federation denies interfering in the US presidential election.

Putin spoke of the importance of the two countries working together and praised Trump, at one point interrupting the news conference to give the USA president a soccer ball. "And third, President Trump should not agree to weaken, lift, or curtail any of the sanctions on Russian Federation".

The US President commented he wanted to improve the relations with Putin, while the Russian leader the said there a "lot of issues in the world". Although Finland is not a member of the alliance, it does cooperate on peacekeeping, training and security missions.

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted back: "We agree". It was a little bit tough at the beginning, but it turned out to be love.

As Mr Trump departed the White House ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels last week, he added: "I have North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, I have the United Kingdom, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin".

John Fritze reported from Washington.

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