World News

Trump sets expectations low for Helsinki summit with Putin

President Donald Trump says "nothing bad … maybe some good" will come out of Monday's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Key points:

  • Mr Trump has said he will raise the issue of Russian election meddling with Mr Putin
  • The US has no extradition treaty with Moscow
  • Congressmen have called on the president to pull out of the meeting unless he is willing to make Russian election-meddling a priority

Mr Trump also says he "hadn't thought" about asking Mr Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in Washington on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets in the 2016 US presidential election, but says "certainly I'll be asking about it".

He also blamed the Democratic National Committee for "allowing themselves to be hacked".

The US has no extradition treaty with Moscow and can't compel Russia to hand over citizens, and a provision in Russia's constitution prohibits extraditing its citizens to foreign countries.

In the interview with CBS News, Mr Trump says he's going into the meeting in Finland with "low expectations. I'm not going with high expectations".

The president taped the interview on Saturday in Scotland. CBS News released excerpts on Sunday, hours before Mr Trump was set to fly to Helsinki, where he will meet with Mr Putin.

Mr Trump says such sessions are beneficial.

He cited his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June as "a good thing" and says "having meetings with Russia, China, North Korea, I believe in it".

"Nothing bad is going to come out of it (Helsinki), and maybe some good will come out," he said.

Previous meetings

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet on and off the sidelines at summits

Mr Trump and Mr Putin have met twice before, during international summits last year in Germany and Vietnam.

But Jon Huntsman, the US ambassador to Russia, says Monday's meeting "is really the first time for both presidents to actually sit across the table and have a conversation, and I hope it's a detailed conversation about where we might be able to find some overlapping and shared interests".

Mr Trump has said he will raise the issue of Russian election meddling with Mr Putin, in addition to Syria, Ukraine, nuclear proliferation and other topics.

Congressional Democrats and at least one Republican have called on the President to pull out of the meeting unless he is willing to make Russian election-meddling a top issue for the summit.

Mr Huntsman said the meeting will go on, arguing that some international issues can't be solved without Russian engagement.

"Right now, there's no trust in the relationship and, because of that, problem-solving is practically impossible," Mr Huntsman said.

"So this is an attempt to see if we can defuse and take some of the drama and quite frankly some of the danger out of the relationship right now."

A man with a Putin mask and a rainbow flag attends a rally

"The collective blood pressure between the United States and Russia is off-the-charts high so it's a good thing these presidents are getting together," he added.

Senator Rand Paul suggested that Mr Trump not even bother to press Mr Putin on election meddling because "he's not going to admit that he did it".

Instead, Mr Paul said Mr Trump and other US officials should focus on safeguarding upcoming elections from interference.

Mr Huntsman was interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press" and Mr Paul appeared on CNN's "State of the Union."


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