Trump vows to raise election meddling during meeting with Putin

Trump vows to raise election meddling during meeting with Putin
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE said early Thursday that he will raise election meddling during a meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I think we go into that meeting not looking for so much. We want to find out about Syria. We will of course ask your favorite question about meddling. I will be asking that question again,” Trump said at a news conference at the end of a tumultuous NATO summit in Brussels.

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Trump also said Putin may deny meddling in the 2016 election when they meet on Monday in Helsinki, Finland.

“What am I going to do? He may deny it,” Trump said.

“All I can say is ‘Did you?’ and ‘Don’t do it again.’ ”

Trump called Putin a “competitor,” adding that “he’s not my enemy.”

“Is he a friend? No, I don't know him well enough. But the couple of times that I've gotten to meet him, we got along well... I hope we get along well.”

Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. 

The president has at times raised eyebrows over his reluctance to criticize Putin and Russia, particularly for its role in meddling in the 2016 election. 

The U.S. intelligence committee concluded that Russia sought to aid Trump and interfere in the election. Trump has at times downplayed that conclusion, pointing to Putin's denials.

Reports indicate Trump intends to meet with Putin one-on-one with no aides present before other officials joins the meeting.

On Thursday, he said the summit won't be a "big schedule."

"I don’t think it should take a very long period of time, and we’ll see where it leads," Trump said. "But it could lead to productive - something very productive, and maybe it’s not."

--Brett Samuels contributed to this report, which was updated at 8:08 a.m.

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