President Donald Trump named the European Union as a top adversary of the United States and denounced the news media as the "enemy of the people" before arriving in Helsinki on Sunday on the eve of his high-stakes summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin.
Of the summit as a whole, he said: "I'm not going with high expectations" but insisted: "I think it's a good thing to meet".
"Germany made a pipeline deal with Russian Federation where they're going to be paying Russian Federation billions and billions of dollars a year for energy, and I say that's not good, that's not fair", Trump said.
He added the hack of the DNC's information was a result of the party having a weaker cybersecurity system than the Republican National Convention.
"Terrible. We'll stop that", Trump said during a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders summit, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel, which cited sources at the alliance's meeting. Senate Democrats, after urging Trump to cancel the meeting altogether following the indictments, wrote him on Saturday to warn against a one-on-one meeting with Putin, himself a former intelligence agent.
"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals (sic), you know taking all of the people from wherever they come from", Trump said in a joint interview published by German daily Bild and British newspaper The Times, referring to Merkel's open-door policy for refugees fleeing war and persecution.
"Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out", he said, pointing to other summits he has held with the leaders of China and North Korea.
"That's what one of the purposes of this meeting is, so the president can see eye to eye with President Putin and ask him about it", he said. "What they do to us on trade".
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Trump, a 72-year-old former NY real estate developer who praises his own deal-making skills, and Putin, a 65-year-old former KGB spy who cultivates a macho image as a man of action, are due to have some time alone at the summit. "And don't say I'm attacking freedom of the press".
The array of topics, in addition to election interference, that Trump has said he will raise with Putin include the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, as well as an Reagan-era arms control agreement and the prospect of extending a 2011 nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russian Federation. But I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans too. Russia's a foe in certain respects. As for Russian Federation, it's a "foe in certain respects".
Trump said such sessions are beneficial.
He said the indictments are "further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win".
Trump set expectations for the summit low, telling CBS News, "I don't expect anything".
Trump has said he will raise the issue of Russian election meddling, along with Syria, Ukraine, nuclear proliferation and other topics. The charges on Friday were the most detailed United States accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the election to help Republican Trump.
US Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, told NBC news: "It isn't a summit".
"It doesn't feel good to have them here", said Anna Bruun, a civil servant who said she was opposed to "great power politics" playing out in her home city.