The two leaders’ meeting comes three days after 12 Russian intelligence officials were indicted by the U.S. government for their involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee during the election.
Here are some of the press conference’s takeaways.
Trump sides with Russia over the U.S. intelligence community.
When asked if he believed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions that Russia meddled in the presidential election, Trump said Putin had given him a “strong and powerful denial” about Russian involvement.
“He just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said of the Russian leader after criticizing the FBI’s investigation for not going after a missing DNC server and missing emails belonging to his opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton.
“I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server,” he said. “I think that it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.”
Putin wanted Trump to be president.
Putin admitted that he wanted Trump to win the election when asked by a reporter, reasoning that Trump had discussed “normalizing” the United States’ relationship with Russia.
Trump said he ran a “clean” presidential campaign.
Trump repeated claims that the federal investigation into the election was “a disaster.”
“There was no collusion at all, everybody knows it,” he said, adding once again that he ran a “clean campaign” in 2016.
He stressed that the investigation “has had a negative impact” on the two countries’ relations.
Trump says U.S.-Russian relations are improving.
Trump began his press conference by saying disagreements between both countries “are well-known” and that “our relationship has never been worse than it is now, however, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.”
He went on to say that he chose talking with Putin over silence.
Trump says U.S. and Russia are both to blame for poor relations.
Trump, when asked if he holds Russia at all accountable for the poor relations between the two countries, said yes before adding: “I think we are all to blame.”
“We’ve all be foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago,” he said.
Trump differs with Putin on Crimea.
Putin defended the annexing of Crimea but acknowledged the U.S. had criticized the takeover.
“He continues to maintain that it was illegal,” Putin said of Trump. “Our viewpoint is different.”
Putin acknowledged rumors of “compromising material.”
When asked if he has any “compromising material” on Trump, Putin dodged the question by suggesting that such an opportunity wouldn’t be possible.
Putin said he had no knowledge of Trump’s past business trips to Russia when they were happening and that he could not keep track of or monitor every single person who traveled to his country. He asked the media to dismiss such thoughts.
“If they had it, it would have been out long ago,” Trump added.
Trump trashed recent testimony given by an FBI veteran.
Trump ended the press conference by blasting recent testimony given by Peter Strzok, the FBI’s former head of counterespionage, who summarized the Russian interference in the election as a “grave attack on our democracy.”
Trump slammed the testimony as “a disgrace to the FBI, it was a disgrace to this country and you would say that was a total witch hunt.”