Trump and Putin to hold joint press conference

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President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a joint press conference on Monday following their one-on-one meeting in Helsinki, the Finish government said Friday.

The White House announced late last month that Putin and Trump would be meeting on July 16 as the president seeks to improve relations with Moscow, but this is the first confirmation that the two will address the media together.

The news comes as several top Democrats have called on Trump to cancel talks with Putin due to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Friday indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

“There should be no one-on-one meeting between this president and Mr. Putin. There needs to be other Americans in the room,” Senate Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Mark Warner (Va.) told reporters on Friday.

{mosads}”Secondly, if the president and his team are not willing to make the facts of this indictment a top priority of the meeting in Helsinki, then the summit should be canceled,” he added.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer echoed Warner’s sentiment.

“Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.”

Trump referred to the summit as a “loose meeting” on Thursday while stating that Putin is “not my enemy” and that the U.S. and Russia are ultimately “competitors.” 

“I think we’ll get along well. But ultimately he’s a competitor. He’s representing Russia. I’m representing the United States. So in a sense we’re competitors, not a question of friend or enemy. He’s not my enemy,” Trump said.

“Hopefully some day, maybe he’ll be a friend. It could happen, but I don’t know him very well,” he added.

Trump said on Friday before the Mueller indictments were announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that he would “firmly ask the question” about election meddling during his sit-down with Putin.

Putin had previously denied Russia’s role in the hacking during his first face-to-face meeting with Trump last year.

Also on Friday, Trump held a joint press conference in the United Kingdom with British Prime Minister Theresa May, where he refused to take a question from CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. 

“Since you attacked CNN, can I ask you a question?” Acosta said.

“CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN,” Trump replied. 

“Let’s go to a real network,” he added before moving on Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts. 

“Well, we’re a real network too, sir,” Acosta said in response.

Trump’s remarks drew swift pushback from the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA).

“Given that the president took a question from a CNN reporter in his NATO news conference just a day earlier, maybe he was letting off steam today rather than expressing an official stance toward a news organization’s ability to report, but saying a news organization isn’t real doesn’t change the facts and won’t stop us from doing our jobs,” WHCA President Margaret Talev said in a statement.

Tags Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Mark Warner Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Trump-Putin summit

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