President Trump confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about hacking the U.S. election, and Mr. Putin again denied his country’s involvement.
Mr. Putin also offered to work with the U.S. analyzing the cyber attacks.
Both men said the topic was discussed at their meeting Monday in Helsinki. Mr. Trump said he addressed the issue “directly with President Putin.”
“I felt this was a message best delivered in person, and spent a great deal of time talking about it,” Mr. Trump said at a joint press conference following the summit.
He added cryptically that his Russian counterpart “has an interesting idea” about it.
Mr. Putin said he reiterated to the president, “The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere” in U.S elections.
sked by a reporter what proof could be offered to exonerate Russia, Mr. Putin challenged the reporter to “name a single fact that proves” Russian involvement.
Mr. Trump had asked him about election meddling at two previous encounters with Mr. Putin, who repeatedly denied Russian involvement.
Mr. Trump was pressured to confront Mr. Putin on the election hacking. The summit came just days after 12 Russian military intelligence officers were indicted for hacking into the Democratic National Committee and Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 presidential race.
The indictments were the product of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election meddling and alleged Trump campaign collusion.
Asked about extraditing the 12 Russians, Mr. Putin made the startling offer for Mr. Mueller to ask Moscow formally to hold and interrogate them.
“Our law enforcement are perfectly capable of” questioning the Russian military officers and relay the results to the special counsel, Mr. Putin said.
Or, Mr. Putin said, “we can meet you halfway” and allow Mr. Mueller to travel to Russia to observe the questioning of the officers by Russian authorities.
“Options abound,” he said.
(SCROLL DOWN FOR TRUMP-PUTIN PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO)
At the press conference with Putin, President Trump declared:
“We made the first steps towards a brighter future, grounded on cooperation and peace. Refusing to engage will not accomplish anything.
“The disagreements between our two countries are well-known and president Putin and I discussed them at length today.
“Even during the tensions of the Cold War, when the world looked much different than it does today, Russia and the US were able to maintain a strong dialogue.
“Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed. As of about four hours ago. This was a very constructive day, a very constructive few hours we spent together. I’m sure we’ll be meeting again in the future, often.”
Putin, looking noticeably happier than earlier in the day, said:
“Negotiations with Trump took place in an open and constructive atmosphere, I find them rather successful and useful.
“It is obvious to everyone that international relations live through a difficult period. The Cold War has ended a long time ago, the situation in the world has drastically changed. Russia and the United States are now facing totally different challenges.”
He added the meeting marked the first steps to restore “an acceptable level of trust and go back to previous level of interaction on all mutual interest issues”.
“As far as Syria is concerned the task of establishing peace and reconciliation in this country could be the first showcase example of successful joint work.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 16th, 2018