What do Putin and Trump expect from the Helsinki summit?

President Donald Trump plans to raise the issue of election meddling in his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he told officials during his United Kingdom visit that he already knows Putin will again deny interference in the 2016 election - and doesn't expect much progress, according to a source familiar with the discussion.

"I go in with low expectations", Trump told CBS in the same interview.

With the foes at loggerheads over Syria, Ukraine, pipeline policy, espionage and election interference, even Trump cautioned: "I'm not going with high expectations".

"I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume none of them are lawyers because the United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russian Federation, so it's pretty hard to imagine how that would happen", he said.

It also follows President Trump's highly controversial attendance at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels and his weekend visit to Britain. CBS released excerpts on Sunday.

Following their one-on-one meeting, Putin and Mr. Trump are expected to take part in an expanded bilateral meeting with top advisers, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton.

While Trump was eager for a made-for-TV moment that will dominate headlines like his sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month, the Kremlin's primary mission was simply to have the summit happen.

On Friday, 12 Russians were indicted on charges of interfering in the US 2016 election, a development that prompted some Democratic leaders to call on Trump to cancel the Putin meeting, a demand he quickly dismissed.

The summit comes days after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE handed down indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Speaking ahead of the talks, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that the president puts Russia's interests first and respects Trump's "reciprocal beliefs." .

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He also argued that Trump is entering the summit with a stronger hand because of the indictments. "But that doesn't mean they are bad".

John Bolton said he found it "hard to believe" that Putin was not aware of an effort by Russian military intelligence officials to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.

For Putin, the fact that the summit is even happening despite Russia's semi-pariah status among some Americans and US allies is a geopolitical win because, in Russian eyes, it shows that Washington recognises Moscow as a great power whose interests must be taken into account.

"They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration", Trump said of the Russians. "The Republican National Committee".

"I actually think it hurts our relationship with a lot of countries". Russia's constitution also prohibits turning over citizens to foreign governments.

"Look, in reality I don't seek out the press, I don't talk to them, I appear when I'm asked to and if I'm not asked to appear, I don't do it".

He said that thanks to Russia's tight security there were no "serious incidents" and "people who came to our country really felt they were safe". The March 20 call came after Putin was re-elected, and was the same call in which Trump was given briefing materials instructing him not to congratulate Putin.

After Russia moved its military into Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014, the United States and other nations instituted a series of economic sanctions against Russia that remain in place over Putin's protests. "So in this regard I think he definitely plays in a different league", said Gabuev.

Trump said he ran a clean campaign and beat Hillary Clinton soundly in 2016. "We can do more, so if you want to do an arms race you'll lose", according to the report.

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