Kremlin: Putin sees Trump as a 'partner' in negotiations

Kremlin: Putin sees Trump as a 'partner' in negotiations
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Russian President Vladimir Putin sees President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE as his “partner” in their forthcoming meeting, according to a Kremlin adviser.

Putin adviser and diplomat Yurk Ushakov told journalists that they consider Trump a "negotiating partner" ahead of the summit between the two leaders on Monday, Agence France-Presse reported Friday. 

"The state of bilateral relations is very bad," said Ushakov. "We have to start to set them right."

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The aim of Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki "is to begin setting right the negative state of bilateral relations, to agree on concrete measures to improve them and to establish a more or less acceptable level of trust," Ushakov said.

"We would like these negotiations to contribute to the creation of an atmosphere that will allow us to talk about continuing contact, including possible visits to Moscow and Washington," he added. 

Each leader will have just one interpreter with them for the one-on-one portion of their meeting, Ushakov confirmed. 

Moscow was responding to the American president, who said he hopes he can view Putin as a friend someday.

“[Putin] is representing Russia. I’m representing the United States,” Trump said before leaving for the NATO summit in Brussels. “So in a sense we’re competitors, not a question of friend or enemy.”

"He’s not my enemy. Hopefully some day, maybe he’ll be a friend,” Trump added.

Trump told reporters that the meeting with Putin may be “easiest of them all” in comparison to other recent diplomatic meetings fraught with tensions among U.S. allies.

During a press conference with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Trump pledged to “absolutely firmly ask” about Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“I will absolutely bring that up. I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me.’ There won’t be a Perry Mason here,” Trump said.

“But you never know what happens, right?” he added.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report Mueller won't attend Barr press conference on report Schumer slams Justice Dept over 'pre-damage control' on Mueller report MORE announced hours later that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the latest of Mueller's indictments related to Moscow's election meddling.