President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday for more than two hours, saying at the opening "it's an honor to be with" Putin as the two leaders addressed the media.
“President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well,” Trump said from a seat next to the Russian leader. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was seated to Trump's left.
“We’ve had some very good talks, we’re going to have a talk now, and obviously that will continue, but we look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, the United States and for everybody concerned. It’s an honor to be with you,” the president continued, before shaking Putin’s hand.
U.S. officials are expected to give a briefing to the media on what happened during the discussions later on Friday. Trump and Putin addressed the media before the meeting began at a little past 10 a.m.
Putin responded to Trump's comments, through a translator: “I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President, and I hope as you have said our meeting will yield positive results.”
Putin also said that the two leaders had spoken on the phone but that "phone conversations are never enough, definitely."
The cordial words came ahead of a meeting that is likely to overshadow the larger G-20 summit of industrialized nations taking place in Hamburg, Germany.
The first six months of Trump's presidency have been interrupted by stories about Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow sought to hurt Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE's campaign and help Trump.
A special counsel and several congressional committees are now looking into the issue, including possible collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin.
Trump has repeatedly said there is nothing to the investigation, and this week he again questioned the degree to which Russia had meddled in the election, saying other countries also likely interfered.
He did not respond to repeated shouted questions on Friday about whether he would raise the election issue with Putin.
Trump has said he wants warmer U.S.-Russia relations, citing his desire for Russia’s assistance in the ongoing war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Trump tweeted earlier on Friday he was looking forward to his meeting with Putin.