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May thanks Trump for expelling ‘Russian spies’ after Salisbury, urges ‘strength & unity’

May thanks Trump for expelling ‘Russian spies’ after Salisbury, urges ‘strength & unity’

Russian President Vladimir Putin regards U.S. President Donald Trump as a negotiation partner at their upcoming talks in Helsinki, the Kremlin said Friday.

The two leaders will meet after Trump's visit to Britain where he has criticised Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy, and Brussels where he blasted North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over their levels of defence spending.

For US President Donald Trump, a summit with Vladimir Putin risks a political backlash at home and overseas.

"Will we be talking about meddling?"

"I let them know that I was extremely unhappy", he said, but added that the talks ended on the best of terms: "It all came together at the end".

Trump's campaign and transition team have been accused of colluding with Russian agents in an effort to influence the 2016 United States election against Hillary Clinton.

"I'll absolutely bring that up, but it won't be a Perry Mason moment".

"Whatever you do is OK with me", Trump said.

And today, a spokeswoman for Mrs May insisted the Prime Minister has a good relationship with Mr Trump and is confident a trade deal can be agreed with the United States.

Rosenstein said the president had been briefed on the charges earlier this week.

"If [Trump] and his team are not willing to make the facts of this indictment a top priority of the meeting with Putin, then he needs to cancel it - the Helsinki summit", Warner added.

As for what he and Putin will discuss, Trump said Syria will be a main topic, as will Russia's attempts to interfere in the 2016 election that put Trump in the White House.

"If you can imagine what reduced tension could do in the case of US-Russia and Europe-Russia, it would be on a much bigger scale", the US ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, told reporters on a call previewing the meeting last week. He answered by blaming former President Barack Obama for not doing enough at the time to respond to the crisis. Still, European economies have been growing recently, making the 2 percent of GDP target ever harder to achieve, and Trump's spending demand is at least in part aimed at drumming up business for the US defense industry.

But even before Air Force One completed its 50-minute flight across the English Channel to the next stop on his European tour, Trump's claims of accomplishment were challenged by the same allies he claimed had caved.

As FRONTLINE recounted in the Fall 2017 documentary Putin's Revenge, Trump frequently praised the Russian leader on the campaign trail. "The Russian state has never interfered and has no intention of interfering in the USA elections", Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Friday. "It really hurts our relationship with Russian Federation".

Nobody in Russian Federation expects the summit to resolve the differences that have led to painful USA sanctions. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, called on Trump to demand that Putin hand over all of the alleged Russian spies indicted by the USA, and urged the Treasury Department to immediately impose sanctions Congress has mandated on the Russian intelligence officers indicted.

Still, some anxious Trump's combative stance toward allies could ultimately weaken the 69-year-old alliance. "If you don't have deliverables, nobody wants a summit because you going to be questioned: why did you got meet this person, [and] shook hands if you have nothing to sign?"

Reversing the harsh criticisms he has leveled at NATO, President Trump says the alliance is very strong - in part because of promises from America's allies to boost their military budgets to 2 percent of their gross domestic product.

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