Trump Hopes For Extraordinary Relationship With Putin
President Donald Trump sat down with Russian President Vladimir Putin for their highly anticipated meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday amid lingering questions about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In remarks ahead of a one-on-one meeting, Trump expressed optimism the two leaders would end up having an “extraordinary relationship.”
“I think we have great opportunities together as two countries, and frankly we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years,” Trump said. “But I think that we will end up having an extraordinary relationship. I hope so.”
He added, “I have been saying it, and I am sure that you have heard over the years, as I campaigned, that getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
Trump and Putin both noted they will discuss a number of issues, including U.S.-Russian relations, global problems, and China.
The one-on-one meeting was due to be followed by an expanded bilateral meeting attended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and members of the Russian delegation.
The highly anticipated summit comes amid special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Russian meddling in the election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Last Friday, Mueller obtained an indictment against 12 Russian intelligence officers for crimes intended to interfere with the election, leading some lawmakers to call on Trump to cancel the meeting.
Trump has repeatedly described the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt” and has sought to blame former President Barack Obama’s administration for the alleged interference.
“President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it,” Trump tweeted before his meeting with Putin. “When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!”
He added, “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
In remarks during a press conference last Friday, Trump said he would talk to Putin about the alleged Russian meddling in the election.
“I will absolutely bring that up. I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it. I did it. You got me.’ There won’t be a Perry Mason here, I don’t think,” Trump said. “But you never know what happens, right? But I will absolutely firmly ask the question.”
Trump has previously claimed no other president has been tougher on Russia but said he hopes to develop a good relationship with Putin.
The president has drawn considerable criticism for his willingness to improve relations with Russia while attacking longtime U.S. allies such as Germany.
by RTTNews Staff Writer
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