The meeting is being closely scrutinized for signs of how friendly a rapport Trump and Putin will have
President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci), photo: AP/Evan Vucci
07 of July 2017 12:54:34
HAMBURG – At long last face to face, President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced confidence Friday that their historic first meeting would pave the way for a positive trajectory for their two countries. If thornier issues like election meddling came up in their two-hours-plus meeting, they discussed them only in private.In characteristically confident fashion, Trump said he and the Russian leader were holding "very, very good talks" as journalists were briefly allowed in to witness part of their meeting in Germany. Seated with the U.S. flag behind him, Trump appeared informal and relaxed and said it was "an honor" to be with Putin."We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned," Trump said.https://youtu.be/rnE1DLB8WpIThe White House said in advance that 35 minutes had been allotted for the meeting. But it extended well beyond that, clocking in at 2 hours and 16 minutes, the State Department said.Trump offered no details about what issues he and the Russian leader had discussed, describing them only as "various things." Putin was similarly vague, telling reporters through a translator that they were discussing international problems and bilateral issues.Still, Putin described the fact that they were meeting as a positive sign in itself, and he said he hoped the meeting would "yield positive results.""Phone conversations are never enough definitely," Putin said. "If you want to have a positive outcome in bilaterals and be able to resolve most international policy issues, that will really need personal meetings."https://youtu.be/7Bn9I5HYaIwThen the leaders shook hands firmly but briefly before reporters were escorted out of the room. Trump did not respond to shouted questions about whether they would discuss Russia's meddling in the U.S. election — a topic lawmakers in Washington have been demanding that Trump raise directly.Both kept their composure amid the commotion of cameras clicking and journalists lobbying questions as anxious aides moved about nearby. The U.S. leader's son, Donald Trump Jr., took to Twitter to say the noise from the cameras made it difficult to even hear the two leaders' words."How many pictures do you need of the same scene?" he said.The heavily anticipated meeting is being closely scrutinized for signs of how friendly a rapport Trump and Putin will have. Trump's predecessor, President Barack Obama, had notoriously strained ties to Putin, and Trump has expressed an interest in a better U.S.-Russia relationship.But deep skepticism about Russia in the U.S. and ongoing investigations into whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Moscow during last year's election have made a U.S.-Russia detente politically risky for Trump.Putin, slightly hunched in his chair, rubbed his fingers together as he listened to Trump address reporters during the public portion of their meeting. Also in the meeting: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.In a prelude to their formal sit-down, Trump and Putin shook hands and exchanged broad grins earlier Friday in a brief exchange caught on video as a leaders' retreat got under way in Hamburg. A brief video clip showed Trump outstretching his hand to Putin as officials gathered around a table, then patting Putin's elbow as both men smiled. In another clip, Trump casually patted Putin on the back as they stood side by side.Video of the brief exchange was posted to Facebook by the German Cabinet. It was the first known in-person interaction between the two men.
DARLENE SUPERVILLEKEN THOMAS