Trump hails 'very good start' with Putin at first summit

Hillary Clinton

Putin gave the statement in Russian when he posed for photographs with his American counterpart Donald Trump, prior to their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

"We have a lot of good things to talk about and things to talk about", Trump said sitting alongside Putin.

Trump congratulated Putin on Russia's hosting of the World Cup football tournament, which climaxed yesterday in Moscow with the Kremlin chief in attendance. "We have discussions on everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China".

Rather, when pressed about the verdict of his own intelligence chiefs, Trump stressed that Putin had delivered a "powerful" denial of any Russian vote meddling and said the U.S. investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller had been a "disaster" for the US.

"I've not been here too long (as president), it's getting close to two years, but we'll be having an extraordinary relationship, I hope so". Just hours before the summit, Trump said on Twitter, "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 American president said their two countries have "great opportunities", given that they have not been getting along over the past few years. We have 90 percent of the nuclear [weapons], and that's not a good thing.

During his turn to respond to the question of Russian accountability for the alleged election meddling, Putin responded cryptically, "Where did you get the idea that President Trump trusts me or that I trust him?"

The leaders' unified front on the issue is follows the indictment last Friday of 12 Russians suspected of meddling in the 2016 election. It's not a positive force, it's a negative force.

The former Central Intelligence Agency head, who has regularly criticized Trump throughout his presidency, also blasted Trump last week after he hammered allies about their contributions to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation at the group's annual summit.

During the press conference Putin presented Trump with a football, with the United States president saying he would give to his son, Barron, as he passed it to the first lady, Melania Trump, on the front row.

President Trump was asked about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 presidential election and said it has been awful for the country. "Everybody knows it", Trump said just days after Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democratic servers during the 2016 campaign".

Putin will likely not be shooting for official recognition of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea or the easing of crippling U.S. sanctions, aware that the U.S. Congress would never allow such action. The summit, which is being closely watched around the world, was not the first time Trump and Putin have held talks. "When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!"

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