Trump Blames 'US For Poor Russia Ties Ahead Of Summit

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the airport in Helsinki Finland Sunday July 15

The US and Russian leaders came out of their meeting in Helsinki expressing a desire to cooperate on global challenges, after discussing an array of issues from Syria, Ukraine and China to trade tariffs and the size of their nuclear arsenals.

Former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said the Trump administration's claim that the Russia investigation is a witch hunt came true Friday with the indictment of a dozen Russian intelligence officers. I will say this: "I don't see any reason why it would be".

While evidence for Russian meddling in US politics mounted, the debate remains in the United State whether the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with Russians.

Hovering over Helsinki is the specter of the 2016 election interference and ongoing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian Federation. Almost 300 billboards - which preview some of both presidents' most "turbulent relations" with the media from 2000 to 2018 - are posted along the routes from the airport to the site of the summit, according to a press release about the campaign from Helsingin Sandomat.

In fact, Trump welcomed a surprise offer by Putin to help in the investigation. GRU is the Russian military intelligence agency.

"I never thought I would see the day when our American president would stand on the stage with the Russian president and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression", Sen. "This is shameful", Republican Senator Jeff Flake said.

The talks are likely to be followed by a joint news conference.

Earlier Sunday, Trump tweeted out congratulations to the tournament's victors, France, as well as Putin and his countrymen for "putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament - one of the best ever!"

"To me, it's the only question that interests the American press", reporter Yegor Kolyvanov said on NTV, a Kremlin-controlled national TV channel.

Trump emphasized at Friday's press conference with May that by the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit allies were making commitments to increase their spending more expediently.

A total of 64 percent of people questioned said they saw Trump as a greater threat to world peace than Putin (16 percent).

Trump's characterization of the news media as enemies was notable, coming as he flew to meet with the leader of what's regarded as one of the most repressive, anti-press regimes in the world.

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A post-NATO trip to Britain, supposedly America's partner in a "special relationship", was riddled with controversy as well.

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 on Monday morning.

On Friday his adviser Yuri Ushakov played down expectations, saying: "The state of bilateral relations is very bad...." However, that changed as of about four hours ago.

Trump said in Britain last week - another chaotic stop on his European tour - that he would raise the issue of election meddling with Putin even as he played down its impact. "Putin is an autocrat".

He did not commit to allowing the extradition of the Russian agents.

"Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" he said on Twitter.

Russia's foreign ministry tweeted in response: "We agree".

In the same interview, Trump admitted that Russian Federation remains a foe, but he put Moscow on a par with China and the European Union as economic and diplomatic rivals.

Those leaders are already fuming over Trump's imposition of trade tariffs on various countries, including Russian Federation.

"I think the president should be clear-eyed about who he is dealing with", said Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican.

"I hope this message reaches Helsinki".

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