Trump and Putin chat at Asia-Pacific summit

President Donald Trump is winding down his Asia trip with an worldwide summit and a series of meetings with Pacific Rim allies, including his host in the Philippines who is overseeing a bloody drug war.

Although the White House had said no official meeting was planned, the two also shook hands at a dinner on Friday evening and again at the start of the main meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders on Saturday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is adding entertainer to his role as host of the ASEAN summit, singing a duet on behalf of President Donald Trump. It's doubtful, though, whether there will be any substantive discussions on trade and investment issues as well as the South China Sea, where Duterte is exploring joint energy development with Beijing. "Philippine relations will go unaddressed, and one of those will be rule of law".

Meanwhile, a special counsel investigation of potential collusion between Moscow and President Trump campaign aides so far has resulted in two indictments for financial and other crimes unrelated to the campaign, as well as a guilty plea.

Turnbull was due to have a bilateral meeting with Trump on Monday morning, but will dine with the president in the evening instead.

Trump also criticized Obama during the call, noting that his predecessor "did not understand" the drug problem the Philippines faces. "And this artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way", President Trump told reporters.

"Trump seems very comfortable with strongmen".

The opening ceremonies of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations conference began with pageantry, including a group photo of the leaders and the summit's traditional handshake.

President Donald Trump is holding friendly talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India as he nears the end of his lengthy Asia trip. He called the accusation an "artificial barrier" erected by Democrats - once again casting doubt on the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation tried to interfere in the election to help the Republican Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

John Brennan said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump is trying to "delegitimize" the USA intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump's interest in being flattered". The White House has suggested the president may designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election to try to help President Trump win. Trump refrained from chastising the Egyptian leader but worked with him behind closed doors to help engineer the release of American prisoner Aya Hijazi in April.

Former CIA director John Brennan, appearing Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union", said Trump was deriding them in an attempt to "delegitimize" the intelligence community's assessment.

Trump was among 20 foreign leaders in the Philippines for the summit, his first visit to the country as president. Duterte has come under intense criticism from human rights advocates for overseeing a violent drug crackdown that includes extrajudicial killings. Duterte has received global criticism for the human rights situation in the Philippines right now, from Filipinos (although many do like him), human rights organizations, and various governments alike - including President Obama. Trump also laughed as Duterte called the reporters there "spies."

The comments made clear that President Trump still does not take the meddling seriously and sees little benefit in punishing a nation accused of undermining the most fundamental tenet of American democracy: free and fair elections.



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