Sun | Sep 15, 2019

Trump arrives in Finland for closely watched Putin summit

Published:Monday | July 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
US President Donald Trump waves as he and his wife, Melania, arrive at the airport in Helsinki, Finland, yesterday on the eve of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


President Donald Trump arrived in Finland on Sunday for a closely watched one-on-one summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, hours after telling an interviewer that he was going into the meeting on Monday with "low expectations".

On the way to meet with a leader who has cracked down on the press in his country, Trump tweeted that the US news media is the "enemy of the people" and complained that "no matter how well I do at the Summit", he'll face "criticism that it wasn't good enough".


No thought to extradition


Trump also said in the interview that he had given no thought to asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets in the 2016 US presidential election.

But after being given the idea by his interviewer, Trump said "certainly I'll be asking about it", although extradition is highly unlikely. The US doesn't have an extradition treaty with Moscow and can't force the Russians to hand over citizens. Russia's constitution also prohibits turning over citizens to foreign governments.

Trump flew to Finland, the final stop on a week-long trip that began last Tuesday, from Scotland.

He and his wife, Melania, spent the weekend at a golf resort Trump owns in Turnberry. He was returning to the White House after Monday's meeting with Putin in Helsinki, the Finnish capital.

Near Trump's hotel, police roped off a group of about 60 mostly male pro-Trump demonstrators waving American flags. Big banners said "Welcome Trump" and "God Bless D & M Trump" and a helicopter hovered overhead.

Chants of "We love Trump, we love Trump" broke out as the president's motorcade passed and Trump waved.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said it would be "pretty silly" for Trump to ask Putin to hand over the indicted Russians.

"For the president to demand something that isn't going to happen puts the president in a weak position, and I think the president has made it very clear he intends to approach this discussion from a position of strength," Bolton said in a separate interview.