U.S., Russian Federation will ‘work jointly’ to ensure Israel’s security

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin arrive to attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki

We are past the point when such statements can be dismissed as naivete - especially when Trump has previously admitted that Russian Federation did hack the election.

From the Kremlin's perspective, however, the project of improving US-Russian relations is only beginning. And so, yes, we have been involved in Russian Federation and their elections.

Trump's meeting with Putin in Helsinki was his first time sharing the worldwide stage with a man he has described as an important USA competitor - but whom he has also praised a strong, effective leader.

Trump's softer approach to strongmen like Putin, and hostility toward traditional allies like Britain and the European Union, was part of the reason there were already hesitations about the two meeting alone without any aides and only their translators present.

Putin said he'd expect the United States to return the favor and cooperate in the Russian probe against William Browder, a British investor charged with financial crimes in Russia. "I think that's an incredible offer, OK?" "I really think the world wants to see us get along".

Said Trump: "My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russian Federation".

Ryan, the top Republican in the US House of Representatives, was tempered in his remarks but insisted that Trump "must appreciate that Russian Federation is not our ally".

Their opening one-on-one session ran well past the scheduled 90 minutes.

President Donald Trump refused to confront Vladimir Putin over meddling in the United States election at their first face to face summit, publicly challenging the findings of the U.S. intelligence community and triggering bipartisan outrage at home.

While American intelligence agencies have assessed that Putin himself signed off on a campaign to sow discord among the U.S. voting public and tilt the election in favor of President Trump, the Russian president denied his government was involved. "This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russian Federation as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves". He nodded along to some of Mr Trump's remarks before they were translated, showcasing his fluency in English.

And apparently, Trump was digesting it too, and reflecting on the criticism that came pouring in from all sides. At one point, he shot Putin a wink. After making statements and ignoring shouted questions about election meddling, Trump and Putin shook hands, and with that, the press pool was ushered out.

By the time the two men met for the first time at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on the day of their highly anticipated sit-down, they were already almost an hour behind schedule.

They were to continue their discussions with an expanded group of aides and over lunch in the Hall of Mirrors, once the emperor's throne room.

The summit will follow a larger working lunch, and will conclude with a joint news conference.

"We don't have anything on them, and there can't be anything on them", Putin said Monday in his first interview with a USA news outlet since June 2017.

"I need to ask you, domestically - not internationally, domestically, inside Russian Federation - why is it that so numerous people that oppose Vladimir Putin end up dead or close to it?", Fox News Channel anchor Chris Wallace asked.

What steps of that nature might have come out of today's meeting, and what do you expect for U.S. -Russia relations going forward?

But the top Democrat in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer, tweeted that many Americans can only wonder if "the only possible explanation for this unsafe behaviour is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump".

If that is anathema to many in Washington, Trump's apparent concessions to Putin over the election controversy drew stinging condemnation from across the political divide.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tweeted that this was the "most serious mistake of his presidency".

Mr Trump and his aides have repeatedly tried to lower expectations about what the summit will achieve.

In general, the Russian leader said, the talks with Mr Trump took place in an "open and businesslike atmosphere" and he characterised them as "successful and useful".

Observers have raised concerns about the fact that the leaders met alone during their first meeting, but for a pair of interpreters, meaning there will be no corroborating witnesses to accurately represent what was said during the conversation.

Congressman Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Trump had given Putin "a green light to interfere in 2018". Not mentioned: Election meddling or Syria.

Trump reiterated his position that the probe into whether his presidential campaign colluded with the alleged Russian interference was politically motivated and represented a "disaster for our country".

In tweets Monday, Mr Trump continued to undermine the investigation and blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for failing to stop Russia's efforts to sway the 2016 election in Mr Trump's favour.

He said: "The Russian state never interfered, and does not plan to interfere in internal American electoral process".

"But Putin does know exactly where and when he didn't get the material that he doesn't have", Colbert said.

On the same issue, Putin said he assured Trump that Russian Federation was willing to weep the transit trough Ukraine in place.

Putin claims Browder's associates never paid taxes on $1.5 billion and contributed $400 million to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

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