Don’t meddle in US election, please: Trump jokes to Putin

Osaka, June 28 US President Donald Trump met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Osaka on Friday and told him not to meddle in the 2020 US presidential elections.

When a journalist asked Trump if he intended to ask the Russian President not to interfere in the 2020 elections.

“Yes, of course I will,” Trump responded, before he turned slightly towards Putin and without looking him in the eyes, said with a smirk: “Don’t meddle in this election, please”

Trump, who is seeking a second term in the next election, met Putin on the sidelines of the ongoing two-day G20 summit in the Japanese city. It was their first meeting since US special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do,” Trump said.

Trump wagged his finger towards Putin, who smiled, and repeated: “Don’t meddle in this election.”

This was the first meeting between the two leaders since the Helsinki Summit that caused an uproar almost a year ago when Trump appeared to accept Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

“It’s a great honour to be with President Putin … We have a very, very good relationship and we look forward to spending some very good time together. A lot of very positive things are going to come out of the relationship,” Trump said at the beginning of Friday’s meeting, Efe news reported.

He added that they planned to discuss “trade and including some disarmament, some – a little protectionism perhaps, in a very positive way”.

Putin added that he agreed with Trump and said that “our teams have been together working” since the Helsinki meeting and that talking with the US president was “a great opportunity”.

In December 2018, Trump cancelled a meeting scheduled with Putin during the last G20 summit in Buenos Aires after a Russian coast guard vessel intercepted two Ukrainian gunboats and a tug just off the Crimean Peninsula in the Kerch Strait.

Upon being asked on Friday about the Ukrainian gunboats, Trump said that he had not discussed the issue with Putin recently.

Both the leaders discussed Syria, Ukraine and the Iran-US tensions that have escalated in the last few months, according to a brief US statement after the meeting.

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