President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a joint press conference Monday following a historic meeting in Helsinki, Finland. The pair met one-on-one earlier, shook hands, and Trump said the pair would have “a lot of good things to talk about.”
The president left Monday’s summit neglecting to hold Putin accountable for Russia’s role in interfering in the 2016 presidential election, according to CBS News.
“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,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Putin.
Instead of denouncing Russia’s actions, Trump instead put the blame on the FBI, and that he had the utmost confidence in both parties – the intelligence community and Russia. He also said that Putin’s denial of involvement in the election was “extremely strong and powerful,” according to CBS.
Trump hailed the summit as being a successful in terms of dialogue and communication between the two nations, despite rising tensions over the last few months.
“The world wants to see us get along,” Trump stated during a formal meeting between the two world leaders. “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. CBS reports that Trump told reporters afterwards that the meeting was “a very good start for everybody.”
Trump tweeted early in the day that U.S.-Russia relations were being soured by many years of U.S. “foolishness” and that the rigged “With Hunt” was partly to blame.
Some issues arose at the beginning of the press conference, with an activist/journalist being forcibly escorted out by security just a few short minutes into the conference. Video shows guards in dark suits and sunglasses grabbing a man identified as Sam Husseini by the shoulders and forcing him out of the room.
The BBC’s Jon Sobel tweeted that the United States Secret Service initially asked Husseini to leave, but eventually escorted him out with the aid of Finnish guards. The guards attempted to grab something out of Husseini’s hands, but he held tight to the small piece of paper he was clutching.
Husseini is heard saying “I want to ask a question” as a guard tries to confiscate a piece of paper, which reads “nuclear ban treaty,” out of his hand. Husseini was accredited to cover the press conference, which stirred some controversy on Twitter at his removal.