Democratic senators are calling for U.S. President Donald Trump to cancel his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced 12 Russian intelligence officers have been indicted in the election meddling investigation.
On Monday, President Trump will meet in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin, in a summit intended, as much as anything, to further a friendship Trump has desperately desired at least since he tweeted "will he become my best friend?" five years ago.
Failing to take as tough a tone with Putin - whose leadership Trump frequently compliments and praises, underscoring his desire for a friendly relationship - could be perilous. "We do have to talk to them, but we have to do so very clear-eyed and that is it is a complicated but important relationship".
The US president said he would be discussing Syria, the Middle East, Ukraine and nuclear proliferation.
"I will absolutely bring that up", Trump said of Russian meddling.
Last week, a group of Republican senators traveled to Moscow and met with Russian officials where they say they firmly warned the Russians to stop meddling in USA elections.
"Well, I think the deal that she is striking is not what the people voted on", Trump said in the interview.
"We agreed that it's important to engage Russian Federation from the position of strength and unity and that we should continue to deter and counter all efforts to undermine our democracies", she said.
The President's remarks came just an hour before Deputy Attorney Generla Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of twelve Russian Federation military agents for hacking and stealing American documents and information during the 2016 presidential election.
"The way the president portrays himself, and how seriously he takes this and the significance he teaches to it is a real matter of concern because it will have a strategic impact", said Bradley P. Moss, a national security litigator.More news: Sharif, Maryam face arrest on arrival
Amid intensive diplomatic manoeuvring in the run-up to the summit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a senior adviser of the Iranian leader held talks with Putin this week.
"If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the United Kingdom, so it will probably kill the deal", Trump told the paper.
In 2000, shortly after Putin began his first term as president after being selected for the role by Boris Yeltsin, President Bill Clinton visited the Kremlin to size up the new leader.
On Thursday, Trump had said, "I think they like me a lot in the U.K".
"It's one of the signs that the wind is blowing in our sails, thanks in large part to Trump", he said.
For Putin, it is a win just to meet one-on-one with Trump, whose campaign is under investigation over whether Trump associates colluded with the Kremlin to help get Trump elected.
Putin won re-election for six more years in March with opposition leader Alexei Navalny barred from running on what he says was a false pretext.
Another senior US official said that if Putin came away from the meeting with Trump thinking he had permission to act in the Baltics, Estonia might become the epicenter of what North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has helped to prevent. He added, "I think he is a great representative for your country". Trump at times drew laughs from some British reporters, who jeered his criticism of the media and openly laughed at his numerous boasts.
Indeed, very little happened in Brussels that had not been planned well in advance; apart from Trump sparking an unscheduled discussion about defense spending.
When asked how that conversation might go, Trump said, "He may deny it".