2018 Russia–United States summit
The 2018 Russia–United States summit was a summit meeting between United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, also known as the Trump–Putin summit which was hosted by the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki, Finland on 16 July 2018. The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially titled the summit as the #HELSINKI2018 Meeting. Stated issues included improving bilateral ties between the two countries which had been deteriorating since the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and development of the U.S. Intelligence Community's assessment that Russia tried to meddle with the results of the 2016 U.S. elections.
- Quotes of participants at the summit, and some of their statements about it prior to it and afterward.
- I might even end up having a good relationship, but they’re going, "Will President Trump be prepared?" "You know, President Putin is K.G.B." and this and that. You know what? Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people. Will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I've been preparing for this stuff my whole life.
- Negotiations with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, took place in a frank and businesslike atmosphere. I think we can call it a success and a very fruitful round of negotiations. We carefully analyzed the current status, the present and the future of the Russia-United States relationship, key issues of the global agenda. It's quite clear to everyone that the bilateral relationship are going through a complicated stage, and yet those impediments, the current tension, the tense atmosphere, essentially have no solid reason behind it.
The Cold War is a thing of past, the era of acute ideological confrontation of the two countries is a thing of remote past, is a vestige of the past. The situation in the world changed dramatically. Today, both Russia and the United States face a whole new set of challenges. Those include a dangerous maladjustment of mechanisms for maintaining international security and stability, regional crises, the creeping threats of terrorism and transnational crime, the snowballing problems in the economy, environmental risks and other sets of challenges. We can only cope with these challenges if we join ranks and work together. Hopefully we will reach this understanding with our American partners.
- Once again, President Trump mentioned the issue of the so-called interference of Russia with the American elections, and I had to reiterate things I said several times, including during our personal contacts, that the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs, including election process.
Any specific material — if such things arise — we are ready to analyze together. For instance, we can analyze them through the joint working group on cybersecurity, the establishment of which we discussed during our previous contacts.
- Vladimir Putin, as quoted in full transcript of joint Putin-Trump press conference at Factbase (16 July 2018)
- I'm here today to continue the proud tradition of bold American diplomacy. From the earliest days of our republic, American leaders have understood that diplomacy and engagement is preferable to conflict and hostility.
A productive dialogue is not only good for the United States and good for Russia, but it is good for the world. The disagreements between our two countries are well known and President Putin and I discussed them at length today. But if we're going to solve many of the problems facing our world, then we're going to have to find ways to cooperate in pursuit of shared interests. Too often, in both recent past and long ago, we have seen the consequences when diplomacy is left on the table. We've also seen the benefits of cooperation. In the last century, our nations fought alongside one another in the Second World War. Even during the tensions of the Cold War, when the world looked much different than it does today, the United States and Russia were able to maintain a strong dialogue. But our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.
Nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage, but that would not accomplish anything. As President, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics, or the media, or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct. Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia affords the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world. I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. As President, I will always put what is best for America and what is best for the American people.
During today's meeting, I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections. I felt this was a message best delivered in person. Spent a great deal of time talking about it. And President Putin may very well want to address it, and very strongly, because he feels very strongly about it, and he has an interesting idea.
- Donald Trump, as quoted in full transcript of joint Putin-Trump press conference at Factbase (16 July 2018)
- President Putin, I want to thank you again for joining me for these important discussions and for advancing open dialogue between Russia and the United States. Our meeting carries on a long tradition of diplomacy between Russia, the United States, for the greater good of all.
And this was a very constructive day, this was a very constructive few hours that we spent together. It's in the interest of both of our countries to continue our conversation, and we have agreed to do so. I'm sure we'll be meeting again in the future often, and hopefully we will solve every one of the problems that we discussed today.
- Donald Trump, as quoted in full transcript of joint Putin-Trump press conference at Factbase (16 July 2018)
- I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. We should've had this dialogue a long time ago; a long time, frankly, before I got to office. And I think we're all to blame. I think that the United States now has stepped forward along with Russia, and we're getting together and we have a chance to do some great things, whether it's nuclear proliferation in terms of stopping — you have to do it, ultimately that's probably the most important thing that we could be working on. But I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the — the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it's kept us apart, it's kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. And people are being brought out to the fore. So far that I know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they're going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. That was a clean campaign. I beat Hillary Clinton easily. And, frankly, we beat her — and I'm not even saying from the standpoint — we won that race. And it's a shame that there could even be a little bit of a cloud over it. People know that, people understand it. But the main thing — and we discussed this also — zero collusion. And it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous what's going on with the probe.
Quotes about the 2018 Helsinki summit
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
- You have been watching one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader that I’ve ever seen.
- Anderson Cooper, in his first comments after the end of joint Putin-Trump news conference, as quoted in "TV Anchors Agape After the Trump-Putin Appearance" by Michael M. Grynbaum in The New York Times (16 July 2018)
- President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected — immediately.
- Because Trump is unable to see past himself, he sees the Russia meddling investigation as only about him and the collusion claim, and thus calls it a witch hunt. But the investigations are much more about what Russia did, as the House and Senate reports long since established.
- This is a disgraceful moment. … The president’s party knows better. I know they do. I served with many of them. America needs them to speak out with clarity and conviction not just in this news cycle, but until there’s common sense governing America’s foreign policy.
- Fabulous…better than super.
- Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, when asked how the summit went, as reported by Anton Troianovski, Moscow bureau chief of The Washington Post (16 July 2018)]; also in "Russia's foreign minister thinks the Trump-Putin summit went 'better than super'" in The Week (16 July 2018)
- Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. … President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world. … No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are — a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.
- John McCain, in an official statement: "SASC Chairman John Mccain on Trump-Putin Meeting" (16 July 2018)
- Monday was a dark day in American history. Tuning in to see the results of a much-maligned summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, Americans were treated to one of the most disgusting sights imaginable: the chief executive of the United States of America licking the boots of a murderous dictator. ... He stood on the world stage and sided with a man who has murdered dissidents and interfered with global democracy multiple times, and cast his lot with him over the country he’s supposed to serve. Donald Trump aided and abetted a foreign adversary.
- The President of the United States openly betrayed his country on the world stage. We can argue why he did it – whether it was a mistake in judgment, a failure to lead or simply deference to a man who might very well be his handler. We cannot know why Mr. Trump did what he did in Helsinki, why he aided and abetted our most dangerous foreign adversary. But we watched a high crime play out on national television. We saw a president disqualify himself from office. And if he hasn’t resigned his position by the afternoon or offered an explanation while begging forgiveness, he should be removed for the good of the country.
- All of you who are watching today will be able to tell your friends, family, your children, your grandchildren, you were watching a moment of history. … It may not be for the right reasons.
- For those hoping the US president would refrain from making unwarranted concessions to Vladimir Putin, the omens were not good. Before his departure for Europe, Trump predicted the Putin conversation was likely to be easier than his discussions with his Nato allies and Theresa May.
He tweeted hours before the meeting that relations between the US and Russia were so poor because of American foolishness and stupidity, thus exonerating Putin for much of his behaviour in the past decade. … The US-UK relationship is based on intelligence cooperation and a common loyalty born of history, but Britain now has to absorb the fact that the US president is willing to trust the word of a former KGB agent ahead of the consensus of his own intelligence community. The killer quote that will send a chill through western intelligence agencies runs as follows: “I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Once it was thought the Trump doctrine was no enemies, no allies, just permanent destabilisation. After the last six days, it is possible even that Hobbesian assessment is wrong. Trump, for whatever contorted reason, does have an ally, but that ally does not reside in western Europe.