Kremlin critics at home and overseas see Trump's decision to grant Putin a summit against that backdrop as conferring worldwide legitimacy and status on Putin, something they say he doesn't deserve given the lack of meaningful change in Russia's policies internationally.
"I'll be meeting with President Putin on Monday, we go into the meeting with a tremendous meeting we had with NATO", Trump said. "The president should not look at them as a competitor we need to get closer to".
"We want there to be a possibility that these talks create an atmosphere that would allow us to discuss future contacts and, in particular, normal contacts in the form of visits to our respective countries".
"That would be a tremendous achievement if we could do something on nuclear proliferation", he said.
Trump's assertion that Russia is a competitor and not an adversary is contrary to the judgments of USA intelligence agencies and his chief diplomat, Mike Pompeo, who at his April confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State, said the United States needs "to push back in each place we confront them", referring to the Russians.
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.
Contrary to what Trump's supporters will say, the Mueller investigation is clearly not ending any time soon, nor should it.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called the summit "very intense", and other leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, played down the extent to which they had pledged to accelerate spending plans as fast as Trump wanted.
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, criticized Trump for saying that.
Trump's GOP defenders argue it is not what he says, but what he does, that counts most when dealing with Moscow. Trump also authorized airstrikes in Syria.after concluding that Syrian president and Putin ally Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. "It has created a new sense of urgency", he said. The Helsinki summit will be their first official stand-alone meeting.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allied leaders, who Trump met with in Brussels earlier this week, are skeptical about whether he will be firm enough with the Russian leader, who has denied the USA intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the election with the intent of helping Trump win.
According to a tweet from Bloomberg White House reporter Jennifer Epstein, the Trump-Putin summit is now still a go.
I dont "believe" Putin interfered in our elections I know for a fact he did. I think he's got what it takes, Trump told the Sun.
The Russian intelligence officers are accused of hacking into the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign and then releasing stolen emails on the internet in the months before the election. Of the alliance, he said it was "very unified, very strong, no problem".