Trump Kicks Off NATO Summit With Jab At Germany

Following a day of discussions between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Mr. Trump left Monday's summit neglecting to hold Putin accountable for Russia's role in interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

"I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think that we've all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time, frankly, before I got to office," Mr. Trump said during a joint press conference with Putin.

Offered multiple times to denounce Russia's actions, Mr. Trump instead placed blame on the FBI and said that he had "confidence" in both parties -- the intelligence community and Russia.

He went so far as to say that Putin's denial of having been involved in the election was "extremely strong and powerful."

Mr. Trump meanwhile hailed the summit as being a success for dialogue between the two nations despite existing tensions. "The world wants to see us get along," Mr. Trump remarked earlier during the leaders' first formal meeting, adding, "I think we'll end up having an extraordinary relationship."

Following their first appearance together, the two leaders sat down for a private one-on-one discussion that lasted 2 hours long. Mr. Trump told reporters at a working lunch afterwards that the meeting was "a very good start for everybody."

Mr. Trump kicked off his day by tweeting that U.S.-Russia relations were being soured by U.S. "foolishness" including the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018

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