HELSINKI – The presidents of the United States and Russia hailed a summit held in Helsinki on Monday as a success, calling it a good start toward rebuilding trust between the two countries.
Donald Trump said the two-hour meeting held behind closed doors with his Russian counterpart had been very constructive and he thanked Vladimir Putin for joining him in what he described as important discussions.
“Productive dialog is not only good for the United States and Putin’s Russia, but for the world,” Trump said.
Both Trump and Putin said they had discussed Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election and both denied there had been any collusion.
Putin denied any involvement in what he described as so-called interference in the internal affairs of another country, including election processes.
“There was no collusion at all,” said Trump, adding, “I beat Hillary Clinton easily. We won that race, it’s a shame there could be even a little cloud over it.”
The Russian leader agreed with his US counterpart and asked those attending the press conference in the Finnish capital if they could name “a single fact that could prove collusion.”
Trump told the gathered media at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki that he had believed Putin’s “very strong” denials of any involvement in collusion, despite evidence contradicting that conclusion provided by his own intelligence services.
Having congratulated the Russian leader for hosting a very successful World Cup, saying Putin had done “a great job,” Trump said the US aimed to find new ways to cooperate with Russia.
“I’m sure we will meet again, often,” Trump said.
When Putin was asked if he held any compromising information on President Trump or his family, he said it was hard to imagine more nonsense than collecting compromising information on Trump and his family.
Putin said there had been some foreign 500 delegates in Moscow at the time of the alleged events being referred to and that he had no idea that Trump was in Russia at the time.