Trump flashes a grin, tells Putin not to meddle in US election during first post-Mueller report meeting

President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota MORE on Friday met with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinDemocrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission How Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann's offer to an oligarch could boomerang on DOJ Key Merkel ally set to test Trump amid tensions with Europe MORE at the Group of 20 summit in Japan, where he gave a perfunctory warning about election meddling.

As journalists shouted questions asking if Trump would tell Russia not to meddle in U.S. elections, the president delivered a deadpan response.

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"Yes, of course, I will. Don’t meddle in the election, please. Don't meddle in the election,” Trump said, pointing to Putin and flashing a grin.

Putin appeared to chuckle in response.

Trump told reporters that the two leaders would discuss trade, disarmament and "a lot of different things."

 

A White House readout after the roughly 90-minute meeting made no mention of election interference. It said the two leaders discussed improving U.S.-Russia relations, arms control, Venezuela, Ukraine, Iran and Syria.

Friday's meeting was the first time Trump and Putin met face-to-face since former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThis week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Top Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction MORE finished his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The two held a phone call after the report's release, where Trump said at the time they discussed "the Russian hoax."

The special counsel's report, released in April, outlined in extensive detail how Russia engaged in a systematic effort to interfere in the 2016 election and aid Trump's candidacy. Investigators did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, which is the area of the report the president has focused on in the weeks since its redacted copy was released publicly.

The president previously got into hot water during a summit with Putin last year in Helsinki, when he pointed to the Russian leader's denials of any involvement in election interference and undercut the U.S. intelligence community.

Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, bemoaned Trump's behavior in Friday's meeting.

"Trump laughed off election interference and doesn’t bother to raise Putin’s belligerent , illegal behavior against Ukrainian sailors," McFaul tweeted. "Disappointing but no longer shocking. Trump consistently appeases Putin at expense of US national security interests."

 

A senior administration official said before Trump departed for Japan that there was no formal agenda for the summit between the two leaders, but possible topics included Iran, Ukraine, Syria and arms control.

In an interview this week with the Financial Times, Putin dismissed Mueller's findings, calling it "strange" that Russia was still being accused of interference. He also offered praise for Trump while opining that "the liberal idea has become obsolete."

Trump was joined at Friday's meeting by Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoKudlow: 'The president doesn't make things up' Democrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission Trump threatens Guatemala with penalties over migration MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike On The Money: Trump, Congress reach two-year budget, debt limit deal | What we know | Deal gets pushback from conservatives | Equifax to pay up to 0M in data breach settlement | Warren warns another 'crash' is coming Overnight Defense: Iran's spy claim adds to tensions with US | Trump, lawmakers get two-year budget deal | Trump claims he could win Afghan war in a week MORE, national security adviser John BoltonJohn Robert BoltonKudlow: 'The president doesn't make things up' Trump met with Nunes to discuss potential replacements for Dan Coats: report Five things to know about Turkey's rift with Trump MORE, national security aide Fiona Hill, acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyConservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Pelosi, Mnuchin reach 'near-final agreement' on budget, debt ceiling This week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill MORE and senior advisers Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHow Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann's offer to an oligarch could boomerang on DOJ Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump: 'We already started' talks to get A$AP Rocky home from Sweden MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie Trump'United Kingston' trends after Ivanka Trump misspells 'United Kingdom' in congratulatory tweet Hickenlooper asks Ivanka Trump for 2020 support Trump steps up attacks on 'Squad' after post-rally furor MORE

Updated at 8:34 a.m.