Finnish Newspaper Greets Trump and Putin With Billboards Defending 'Free Press'

Anderson Cooper

Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Trump's answer on meddling "will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness".

Putin arrived minutes earlier than Trump at the palace in Helsinki for the summit, which consists of a one-on-one meeting and a larger working lunch, and will conclude with a joint news conference.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said separately that the talks were "better than super" in comments reported by Russian news agencies.

That's on me, folks. "Between draconian laws and website blocking, the pressure on independent media has grown steadily since Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin in 2012", the group says.

Trump began the day by firing a Twitter broadside at his domestic opponents, blaming the diplomatic chill on the investigation into alleged Russian election meddling. That was, I now know, foolish and stupid of me. I'm sorry it's just the only way I feel. He added that he had spent a great deal of time talking to Putin about the accusations of election meddling, but that he had "no reason to believe" that President Putin's government had interfered with the U.S. presidential campaign in 2016. "And I think the word "competitor" is a compliment".

The incident is believed to be linked to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in March. "I had to reiterate things I said several times".

But there are concrete objectives that Trump could seek during his talks with the Russian leader - and foreign policy experts and US lawmakers spent much of the weekend signaling to Trump to use the opportunity to press Putin on 2016 election interference efforts outlined by USA intelligence officials and federal prosecutors and more, without giving away too much to Putin.

Trump responded, "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today".

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Peskov said the Russian leader respects Trump's "America first" stance because Putin puts Russia first, but said the only way to make progress at the summit is if both sides are open to finding areas of mutual benefit. "I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be", he continued.

Speaking at the joint news conference, President Putin offered to allow U.S. investigators to visit Russian Federation to question the officers. That's just obvious, and by thinking otherwise I exposed my own shameful naivete. "I mean, horribly, dangerously", Trump said.

But today the question of where the President's loyalties lie is a legitimate one, and it will only grow in urgency after Putin deflected the question about whether he had kompromat on Trump.

In the past, I was foolish enough to give credence to things like: last week's detailed indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence agents accused of interfering with the 2016 election; Putin's illegal annexation of Crimea; Putin's propping up of the murderous Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad; and the numerous journalists and political opponents who have not-so-mysteriously been murdered in Russia under Putin.

The president did reiterate his concern about global nuclearization and said it's the "most important" issue to him.

The White House has struggled to explain why Trump aligned so closely with Putin, and lawmakers in both major parties expressed concern with his suggestion that he believes Putin's denial of interfering in the 2016 elections. Russian Federation is ranked 148 and the US sits at 45.

"The information that I am aware of, there's nothing false about it", Putin said, without directly answering the question.

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