Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin had their first one-on-one summit in Helsinki, Finland, spending one and a half hours plus a working lunch in a bilateral discussion. The two then delivered some comments at a joint news conference right after.
The highly anticipated formal meeting between the leaders of the two countries went off as planned in Helsinki, three weeks after it was jointly announced by the White House and Kremlin. The two presidents discussed the ongoing investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, among other topics.
Just like Trump earlier wanted, the two leaders met face-to-face with no U.S. aides involved and only joined by interpreters as needed. They talked for around 90 minutes as per the White House outlined in its schedule, and was afterward joined by some of their top aides for another round of bilateral talks, according to Vox.
This meeting lasted some two hours, a part of which was spent at work while lunch was served. Afterward, Trump and Putin stood side by side in a joint press conference, a first in ten years between an American and Russian leader.
Just before the meeting, Trump took to Twitter to vent about the ongoing investigation headed by special counsel Mueller. "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!," he wrote on Sunday, July 15.
This reaction came just days after 12 Russian agents have been indicted for allegedly hacking the Democratic National committee in 2016, as well as stealing sensitive information from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
On the day of the joint press conference itself, Trump has declined to side with the U.S Intelligence officials, choosing instead to vaguely side with Putin's denial on the matter.
"I have President Putin he just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be but I really want to see the server but, I have confidence in both parties," Trump said, as quoted by CBS News