President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday held a joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland, following their summit, which both leaders characterized as successful.
When they joined to have a joint press conference, each leader took two questions and follow-ups each, and reporters asked about the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.
Both Trump and Putin publicly denied there was any Russian interference, despite U.S. intelligence agencies stating otherwise.
“The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs, including the election process,” Putin told reporters.
“There was no collusion at all,” Trump later said. “Everybody knows it.”
Putin called the accusations that Russia meddled in the election “nonsense.”
“You can trust no one,” Putin said. “Where did you get this idea that Trump trusts me or I trust him? He defends the interests of U.S., I defend the interests of Russia. We have interests that are common. We are looking for points of contact.”
Russia and the U.S. are “looking for ways to reconcile our differences,” he continued.
“We should not proceed from immediate interests, we should be guided by facts. Can you name a single fact,” he asked, regarding the election interference. “It’s nonsense.”
“There’s no evidence when it comes to actual facts. We have to be guided by facts, not rumors,” Putin added.
The two earlier spoke one-on-one for more than two hours before holding a bilateral meeting with other officials.
Trump and Putin are expected to take questions. Watch live here:
Here is a video clip from earlier today of the two meeting and shaking hands, and President Trump introducing First Lady Melania Trump to Putin:
— ABC News (@ABC) July 16, 2018
Trump and Putin were scheduled to meet privately, without any note takers, for 90 minutes, but their meeting lasted for more than two hours.
The two then held a bilateral meeting with other officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Happening Now: President Trump has a 1:1 bilateral meeting with President Putin. Later they will hold an expanded bilateral meeting and a joint press conference.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 16, 2018
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders posted a photo to Twitter of the two leaders meeting today:
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) July 16, 2018
The White House also posted video of their meeting before the summit began:
While this is not the first time Trump and Putin have met, their meeting is historic, as it comes during a time of turmoil between the U.S. and Russia.
Russia is accused of hacking and meddling in the 2016 Presidential election.
The topic of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 is also on peoples’ minds, as well as the country’s alleged use of a nerve agent in the U.K. and its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.