U.S. President Donald Trump has said he has "low expectations" for his July 16 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
"I go in with low expectations," Trump said in an interview with CBS News published on July 15. "I’m not going with high expectations."
He arrived in the Finnish capital later that evening, greeted by a few dozen supporters, along with several protesters along his motorcade route.
He said in the interview that "nothing bad" and "maybe some good" would come out of the meeting with Putin.
"I think it’s a good thing to meet. I do believe in meetings," Trump said.
The U.S. President said he would raise the issue of 12 Russian spies indicted for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election while adding that he "hadn’t thought" about asking Putin to extradite them to the U.S.
The Kremlin denies it interfered in the U.S. election.
Trump also told CBS News that he thinks the United States has "a lot of foes," including the bloc of European nations that are among America’s closest allies.
"I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. You wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe," Trump said.
"Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitors," he said, adding that the EU "is very difficult."
Trump said he has a "big problem with Germany," citing an energy pipeline deal that Berlin made with Russia. "You’re supposed to be fighting for someone and that someone gives billions of dollars to the one you are guarding against … There is a lot of anger at the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars."
He added: "I also think it is very bad thing for Germany. What, are they waving a white flag?"
In another interview published ahead of his summit with the Russian leader, Trump said Putin was "probably" a "ruthless person."
Trump also told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper in the interview published on July 14 that he "fully intends" to run for reelection in 2020, adding that "it seems like everybody wants me to."
Trump was in Britain as part of his European trip that earlier saw him in Brussels for a NATO summit and will take him to Helsinki for a summit with Putin on July 16.
After interviewer Piers Morgan described North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "ruthless dictator," Trump agreed and said he deals with many leaders who are "pretty ruthless people."
Asked if he considered Putin to be ruthless, Trump said: "I can’t tell you that…I assume he probably is. But I could name others also. Look, if we can get along with Russia that’s a good thing. I don’t know him. I met him a couple of times, I met him at the G20."
"I think we could probably get along very well," Trump added, referring to his scheduled summit with Putin.
"Somebody said are you friends or enemies? I said, well, it’s too early to say, but right now I say we’re competitors. But for the United States, and frankly the U.K. and other places, to get along with Russia and China and all of these other places…that’s a good thing, that’s not a bad thing. That’s a really good thing."
Asked if he wanted to put the United States out of NATO, Trump responded by saying, "I don’t even know why you’re asking the question. We have now a much more solid NATO than they’ve had for years."
Some Western allies had interpreted Trump’s comments demanding NATO to increase its spending or see the United States "go it alone" as a threat to quit the military alliance.
With reporting by The Daily Mail
Source: Radio Free Europe