Niinistö: Trump-Putin summit hopefully takes on wider importance

Ahead of Trump-Putin meeting, lack of preparation leads to low expectations: Sources

The European Union is a "foe" of the United States because of "what they do to us in trade", President Donald Trump said Sunday.

President Trump called the testimony of former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok a "disgrace", adding, "I think it hurts our relationship with Russian Federation". On Monday, officials said another Russian agent had been arrested for seeking to influence U.S. politics. The White House is telling reporters to stop calling it a summit.

Former CIA Director John Brennan denounced Trump's performance as "treasonous", and Republican U.S. Senator John McCain called the meeting with Putin a "tragic mistake", although some other Republicans were more cautious.

President Donald Trump is on his way to Finland for a high-stakes summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

That relationship "has never been worse", Trump said as he started his day in Helsinki, blaming the friction on what he called a "Rigged Witch Hunt" investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. "I've been here not too long, but it's getting close to two years, but I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship".

"The headlines highlight the presidents' turbulent relations with the media and were published between the years 2000 and 2018", the statement said.

But to Trump's critics, the friendly words lay in the shadow of his extraordinary denunciation of his own country's prior policies, which he tweeted hours before Putin arrived.

They were then joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Chief of Staff John Kelly and their Russian counterparts for further discussions.

U.S. President Donald Trump has renewed his criticism of America's European allies, describing the EU as a foe alongside China and Russian Federation.

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Other congressional Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who until now had issued only muted criticism of Trump's attitude toward Russian Federation, were more critical on Monday.

But the USA leader insisted that his counterpart had delivered a "powerful" denial of any Russian manipulation, and that the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller was proving a "disaster" for the United States.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Trump and Putin "are quite good at talking", but that Russian Federation needs to stay vigilant given Trump's call for a military buildup by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. "There is no clear agenda. They should not expect, however, to be misrepresented and abandoned by the president of the United States".

President Trump's effort to reset relations with Russian Federation backfired at home after he failed to side with the USA intelligence community over Moscow's interference in the 2016 election.

The leaders also met last autumn during a separate summit in Vietnam. His 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton tweeted: "Great World Cup".

Chants of "We Love Trump, We Love Trump" broke out as the president's motorcade passed and Trump waved.

Russian Federation denies interfering in the USA presidential election. He has repeatedly noted that Putin denies it, while also saying that it is alleged to have taken place before he became president.

The Trump administration has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe as well as on products from Mexico, Canada and China, sparking retaliation and fears of a trade war. Putin, Mr. Trump said at a news conference with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May last week that Obama "failed very badly with Crimea - I wouldn't have done that".

"To maintain our partnership with the U.S. we must readjust it", Heiko Maas told the Funke newspaper group.

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