Trump calls Putin meeting 'very, very good start for everybody'

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (CNN Newsource)

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland Monday after a closely-watched one-on-one summit.

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The leaders said they discussed allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which Putin continued to deny responsibility for, referring to it as "so-called interference" and "nonsense."

"Could you name a single fact that definitively proves the collusion?" he asked.

During a working lunch, Trump told reporters the two-hour private meeting was a "very, very good start for everybody."

"We have not been getting along well for the last number of years," Trump said prior to the meeting. "But I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship. ... I really think the world wants to see us get along."

Putin said they had spoken regularly by phone, but they wanted the meet in person to address "various international problems and sensitive issues."

On Twitter early Monday, Trump acknowledged U.S. relations with Russia are rocky, but he blamed that on "many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity" and the ongoing investigation of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election that intelligence agencies say were directed by Putin.

The meeting with Putin came days after special counsel Robert Mueller filed a detailed indictment accusing 12 Russian intelligence officers of hacking email accounts and networks belonging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

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