U.S. President Trump Sets 'Low Expectations' For Putin Meeting
'Nothing bad ... maybe something good' will come out of his summit with the Russian president.
President Trump is keeping expectations in check in advance of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an exclusive interview with CBS.
"I go in with low expectations," Trump told CBS Evening News, since landing in Finland's capital ahead of the summit.
"I'm not going in with high expectations."
President Trump was interviewed one day after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the for their alleged attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and just before the much-anticipated meeting with Putin.
Asked about his goals for the meeting, Trump said only, "I'll let you know after the meeting," promising "nothing bad" is going to come out of the world leaders' discussion.
"I think it's a good thing to meet. I do believe in meetings. I believe that having a meeting with Chairman Kim was a good thing. I think having meetings with the president of China was a very good thing. I believe it's really good.
"So having meetings with Russia, China, North Korea, I believe in it. Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out."
Trump, who was briefed on the indictment of the 12 Russians before Rosenstein's announcement on Friday, said he "hadn't thought" about asking Putin to extradite them to the US -- the US has no extradition treaty with Russia. Trump continued to blame the Obama administration for its response to Russia's attempts to interfere in the 2016 election, as he did in tweets on Saturday.
"Well, I might," Trump said when asked about possibly extraditing the Russians.
"I hadn't thought of that. But I certainly, I'll be asking about it. But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration."
Mr. Trump also insisted the Republican National Committee had superior cybersecurity systems to the DNC's, and that is why the DNC was hacked.
"And I heard that they were trying, or people were trying, to hack into the RNC too," the president continued.
"The Republican National Committee. But we had much better defenses. I've been told that by a number of people. We had much better defenses, so they couldn't.
"I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked. But I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans too. But -- and this may be wrong -- but they had much stronger defenses."
'I think the European Union is a foe'
Coming off aand a trip to the UKin which he seemed to undercut the government of America's closest ally, President Trump took aim at another Western institution just days before the meeting.
He named the European Union -- comprising some of America's oldest allies -- when asked to identify his "biggest foe globally right now."
"Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade," he said.
"Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn't mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive."
"I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they've really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren't paying their bills," he added.
On Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa Maythat Trump had encouraged her to "sue the EU" rather than negotiate over the UK's departure from the bloc.
May's conservative government is deeply split over her handling of Brexit, and her hold on power was further weakened bythat her approach had likely "killed" any chance of a new trade deal with the US once Brexit is complete.
The US president tried to walk back his criticism in a joint press conference on Friday.
At the summit of NATO allies in Brussels last week, Trump took a hard line toward member nations for failing to meet targeted defense spending goals. He claimed his tough stance had paid off in getting allies to spend more on defense,that members had "upped their commitments and I am very happy."