Trump and Putin had an 80 minute meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, with the US President describing a ‘very, very good relationship’.
According to foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov, Trump responded in ‘a very positive manner’ to the invitation to Moscow for the commemoration in May 2020.
Following Trump’s warm response to the invitation, the Kremlin spokesman said the pair went on to discuss ‘each country’s losses during the war, and whose role was decisive. They also highlighted the Soviet people’s contribution to that victory.’
The annual ‘Great Patriotic War’ victory parade features marching battalions of infantry, rumbling tanks and the rolling thunder of fighter jets over Red Square.
The Kremlin said President Trump had responded in ‘a very positive manner’ to the invitation to Moscow for next year’s victory parade in Red Square
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the annual victory parade last month in Moscow’s Red Square
Russian soldiers march along Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow last month
The president was asked at the top of their G20 talks today whether he would tell the Russian president not to interfere in the 2020 elections – as the Mueller report concluded Russia did in 2016.
‘Yes, of course I will,’ Trump responded. ‘Don’t meddle in the election, please,’ Trump told Putin, amid hubbub in a room packed full of reporters and dignitaries.
It was just the latest time in his presidency when the fraught issue of Russia’s election interference hung over a meeting between the leaders of the two nations.
Following his meeting with Putin, Trump told reporters: ‘We’ve had great meetings. We’ve had very, very good relationship. And we look forward to spending some very good time together.
‘A lot of very positive things going to come out of the relationship. So Vladimir, thank you very much,’ Trump said.
The two men were seated next to each other with a floral arrangement between.
Putin spoke only in broad strokes in brief comments, speaking in Russian through a translator.
‘We haven’t seen each other since Helsinki meeting,’ Putin noted, referencing their summit meeting where Trump took heat domestically for saying he accepted Putin’s denial of election interference – which is contradicted by the U.S. Intelligence Community assessment.
The two men met for the first time since the release of the Mueller report, as Trump told Putin: ‘Don’t meddle in the election’
The two men shook hands at the top of a meeting as Trump said he had a ‘very good relationship’ with the Moscow leader
The two men also shared a bond as a horde of reporters noisily jostled for position during the meeting.
‘Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it?’ he told Putin amid the clatter. ‘You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do,’ he continued, according to a Bloomberg pool reporter who was participating in a press pool.
‘We also have. It’s the same,’ Putin told Trump, speaking in English. ‘Like the Academy Awards used to be,’ said Trump.
There was an earlier show of camaraderie, as the two men chatted on the way to a ‘family photo’ at the G20 summit in Osaka.
Trump patted Putin gently on the back on the way to the event, where he stood next to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The ribbing about election interference comes in contrast to the deadly serious tone of the Mueller report.
Mueller’s report concluded after a two year investigation that: ‘The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. Russia’s actions ‘favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.’
Donald Trump gestures towards Russian President Vladimir Putin as they sat down on the sidelines of the summit for talks. Trump later joked ‘no meddling in our elections’ during the meeting
Trump also got asked about Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian vessels on the eve of their scrapped meeting in Buenos Aires.
‘We haven’t discussed them. Haven’t discussed them,’ Trump responded.
After Trump and Putin held a summit meeting in Helsinki last July, Trump appeared to side with Putin over the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community.
‘President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,’ Trump said, in comments that caused an uproar at home.
Earlier this month, he told ABC News ‘I’d take it’ if offered opposition research by Russia or another foreign power during a campaign.
‘They have information — I think I’d take it,’ Trump said, and would only call the FBI ‘if I thought there was something wrong.’
Trump called repeatedly during the campaign for improved ties with Russia.
After taking office, he blasted the Mueller probe as a ‘witch hunt’ and the ‘Russia hoax.’
But the Russia issue, which according to fired FBI Director James Comey Trump complained was casting a ‘cloud’ over his presidency, showed no signs of abating.
Mueller is set to testify before a pair of House committees next month, giving lawmakers the chance to quiz him about his conclusions.