Trump meets Putin after denouncing ‘stupidity’ of US policy on Russia

July 16, 2018

HELSINKI: Donald Trump met one-on-one with Vladimir Putin behind closed doors on Monday in a long-awaited summit overshadowed by the U.S. president blaming his own country’s past “foolishness and stupidity” for the two powers’ hostile ties. Just days after a special prosecutor indicted 12 Russian agents for stealing documents from the Democratic Party to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election, Trump went into his talks with Putin without a word of criticism for Moscow.
Instead, he tweeted: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
The Russian foreign ministry “liked” his words and tweeted back: “We agree”. Trump’s opponents at home were furious, with one Democratic congressman saying that Trump had turned the White House into “a propaganda arm for the Kremlin”. After two hours alone in a room with their interpreters, Trump and Putin convened a more traditional-style bilateral meeting, seated at a large conference table surrounded by senior officials from both countries. Trump called the private talks with the Kremlin leader a “good start”.
Earlier Trump began the meeting with warm words for Putin, seated next to the Russian leader in an ornate presidential palace in Finland, and said it was a longstanding goal of his to improve U.S.-Russian relations.
“I think we will have an extraordinary relationship. I hope so. I’ve been saying it, and I’m sure you’ve heard over the years, and as I campaigned, that getting along with Russia is good thing, not a bad thing,” he said. Agencies