Trump meets Finnish President ahead of Putin summit

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"I'm not going with high expectations".

These are long-term goals, and Putin realizes that no significant progress will come from just one meeting.

The summit was condemned in advance by members of congress from both parties after the USA indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump's presidential campaign.

Trump's foes at home have been scathing about his apparent refusal to criticize Putin.

After complaining about USA missile defense plans as a major threat to Russia, Putin in March unveiled an array of new weapons he said would render the US missile shield useless, including a hypersonic intercontinental strike vehicle and a long-range nuclear-powered underwater drone armed with an atomic weapon.

Ultranationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky was among those brushing off new indictments of Russians accused of hacking the 2016 USA presidential campaign, calling it implausible that a dozen Russians could have damaged the American electoral system.

Shortly ahead of the breakfast meeting, Trump had tweeted saying that his country's relationship with Russia "has never been worse", due to allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. The drama was playing out against a backdrop of fraying Western alliances, a new peak in the Russian Federation investigation and fears that Moscow's aggression may go unchallenged.

"Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse", Mr Trump tweeted on Monday morning, blaming "many years of USA foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" His one-on-one meeting with Putin lasted nearly two hours.

Out on the streets, the summit attracted a grab-bag of protesters, with abortion-rights activists wearing artificially bulging bellies and Trump masks, anti-fascist protesters bearing signs with expletive-laden insults, and free traders, anti-war Ukrainians and gay rights supporters making their voices heard.

Trump and Putin have held talks several times before.

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They were found nine days later, and the complex rescue took several days to plan and more than 100 volunteers to complete. Some of the rescued football team cry as they're told the news a diver died during the preparations for their rescue.

His performance was denounced as "treasonous" by a former Central Intelligence Agency chief and condemned as "shameful" by a Republican senator, although other Republicans were more cautious. Near Trump's hotel, police roped off a group of about 60 mostly male pro-Trump demonstrators waving American flags. Two held up a handwritten banner that read "God Bless D & M Trump". "I go in with very low expectations".

"I go in with very low expectations". The Association of the United States Army hosts a breakfast with Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, the military deputy to the Army acquisition executive.

Asked about his summit with Putin, he told a reporter: "We'll be just fine, thank you".

Asked whether he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election and had instructed officials to help him, Putin said "Yes I did", although he denied any interference, saying the allegations were "complete nonsense".

"I respect the leaders of those countries", he said.

But it is the matter of election meddling, including fears Russian Federation could try to interfere in the midterm elections this fall, that could play a central role in the summit talks or loom even larger if not addressed.

The Russian foreign ministry responded by liking Trump's tweet and then replying: "We agree".

The president has repeatedly said the investigation into Russian election meddling is a "rigged witch hunt" that makes it hard for him to do substantive deals with Moscow.

The Obama administration did, in fact, take action, including confronting Putin in person as well as expelling almost three dozen Russian diplomats the US said were actually intelligence operatives and imposing new sanctions. Though the president has said he was "not happy" about Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, he puts the blame on his predecessor and says he will continue relations with Putin even if Moscow refuses to return the peninsula. But he would welcome a symbolic end to Western protests over Crimea and Moscow's attempts to destabilize elections and traditional Western alliances and norms.

One possible agreement could see Washington give a tacit go-ahead for a Syrian army deployment along the border with Israel in exchange for the withdrawal of Iranian forces and their Hezbollah proxies, whose presence in the area represents a red line for Israel.

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