Trump says he had a 'tremendous meeting' with Putin

Hamburg
9 Jul 2017

Fresh from his lengthy head-to-head encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump today was meeting with a long list of world leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May and President Xi Jinping of China, as he wraps up his second trip abroad. Trump said he had a "tremendous meeting" with Putin as he sat alongside May for a morning exchange on the sidelines of an international summit in Germany. It marked Trump's first comments on his high-profile talks with Putin in which he raised the issue of Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections and discussed plans for a ceasefire agreement in Syria. Trump was expected to focus on talks to counter North Korea's push for ballistic missile and nuclear programs, address international trade and ways to combat terrorism. The president was holding the meetings at the annual Group of 20 meetings, which have been marked by violent riots in the city between anti-globalisation activists and police.
Noting his "special relationship" with the British prime minister, the president said he and May were working on a trade agreement that he described as a "very, very big deal, very powerful, great deal for both countries." May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump at the White House and he told her he would soon "be going to London" once details were worked out. Independent trade negotiations between the two countries are a possibility as Britain exists the European Union a move Trump has supported. Trump's long list of meetings with world leaders today included Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore. He also attended a women's entrepreneurial finance event, a project spearheaded by his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders also attended.
Ivanka Trump and the World Bank rolled out a new fund that aims to help female entrepreneurs access capital, financing and other support. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative fund had so far raised 325 million from various governments. During his brief remarks, Trump lauded his daughter's efforts to help female entrepreneurs, joking that "if she weren't my daughter, it would be so much easier for her."  Trump planned to return to Washington today evening after the conclusion of the annual Group of 20 meetings. He won't be stateside for long. The president is scheduled to return to Europe next week to attend Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.
The European trip to Poland and Germany has centred around the exchange with Putin, Trump's first in-person meeting as president. But both sides offered differing explanations of what took place. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump and Putin had a "robust and lengthy" discussion about the election interference but Putin denied any involvement. His Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said Trump had accepted Putin's assurances that Russia didn't meddle in the US election a characterisation that the US disputed. "I think the president is rightly focused on how do we move forward from something that may be an intractable disagreement at this point," said Tillerson, who took part in the meeting along with Lavrov. Democrats seized upon Tillerson's remarks, saying that it was wrong to suggest the issue of Russia's role in the election meddling was unresolved. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it was "disgraceful" and said it was a "grave dereliction of duty" to give "equal credence to the findings of the American Intelligence Community and the assertion by Mr Putin.