ELLESBOROUGH, England - The Friday indictment of a dozen Russian nationals for hacking into the Democratic National Committee landed days before President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding a stunning new dimension to a meeting already fraught with tension.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who like the summit host, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, was singled out in the room by Trump for spending less that 1 per cent of GDP on defence, said Madrid would also meet the target by 2024.
Trump's visit to Britain followed two days of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Belgium, where the USA president shook up the conference with rhetoric about other members failing to meet fiscal defense requirements, the possibility that he could end the United States' 70-year membership in the alliance and Germany being "captive" to Russian energy. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, asked whether Trump should meet one-on-one with Putin, responded by saying that "we know Russian Federation meddled in our elections and we're glad these hackers are being held to account". He furiously backpedaled away the comments on Friday, saying of May's Brexit talks: "Whatever you're going to do is OK with us".
Ushakov said the summit, which will be held in Finland's presidential palace in central Helsinki, would begin with the two leaders holding one-to-one talks with only interpreters present.
"Will we be talking about meddling?" "I will absolutely firmly ask the question".
"'People are telling me I can't have this meeting, everybody's saying Russian Federation is the problem - well, I don't think Russian Federation is the problem".
"President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russian Federation takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won't interfere in future elections", Schumer added.
Trump indicated on Thursday that he does not have a list of demands for the Russian president.
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. "Putin is America's enemy - not because we wish it so, but because he has chosen to be", Republican Senator John McCain said.
"The relationship is very, very strong, we really have a very good relationship".
Put simply, Trump has been doing Putin's bidding ever since he got elected. "These units conducted large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 USA presidential election".
"Trump said things plainly, as is normal between friends and allies".
Trump demurred on a question of whether the US and Russian Federation could realistically build a stronger alliance given Moscow's intervention in Ukraine.
As FRONTLINE recounted in the Fall 2017 documentary Putin's Revenge, Trump frequently praised the Russian leader on the campaign trail.
"What do the Russians have on Donald Trump, politically, financially and personally?"
Trump said: 'If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the United Kingdom, so it will probably kill the deal.
After this, Trump will go to have tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle. "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.
"I only gave her a suggestion, not advice", Trump said. Trump said Khan has done a "very bad job on crime" and a "very bad job on terrorism".