Trump and Putin met for 2 hours one-on-one, had lunch, and hosted a wild press conference — here are the best photos

President Donald Trump traveled to Helsinki for a high-stakes one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Their summit comes just three days after the special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential campaign.

Outcry from American lawmakers in the days leading up to the meeting demanded Trump cancel the meeting, to agree to bring other US officials in the meeting, and to prioritize discussing campaign meddling.

At their joint press conference, Trump was asked who he believes more, Putin or US intelligence agencies, and he said he didn’t “see any reason why it would be” Russia that interfered in the US election.

Here are the highlights of the summit, in photos:


The president and first lady Melania arrived in Helsinki Sunday evening after a four-day tour of the United Kingdom.

Source: White House press pool


Onlookers greeted Trump’s motorcade with American flags and a sign with Trump’s campaign tagline on the way to Helsinki’s Presidential Palace.

Source: White House press pool


Protest ads were hung around the city, including this one at a Helsinki bus stop that features a February headline from a Finnish newspaper. Trump tweeted the same phrase again on Sunday.

Sources: Business Insider Nordic, Twitter


Trump began the day blaming the US for the poor state of US-Russia relations, calling the federal investigation that recently indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents for efforts to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election a “witch hunt”. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs account liked Trump’s tweet and retweeted it, adding “We agree”.

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Twitter

Source: Business Insider


Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and his wife Jenni Haukio welcomed the president and first lady Melania Trump Monday morning at the Presidential Palace.

Source: White House press pool


The presidents’ wives seem to have spent the day together, after which Melania thanked Haukio on Instagram for “good conversation about issues facing our nations.”

Source: Instagram


Trump headed to a working breakfast with President Niinisto before his meeting with Putin.

Source: White House press pool


Putin kept Trump waiting nearly an hour as he arrived in Helsinki Monday at 1 p.m. local time, just 10 minutes before the scheduled start.

Source: Business Insider


Once Putin arrived, he posed for photographs with the Trumps and their hosts in the Presidential Palace before the meeting.

Source: White House press pool


Putin and Trump got to the meeting nearly an hour after was planned, and began with opening remarks to a full press pool.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Source: White House press pool


Trump ignored questions from the press about Russian election meddling, and didn’t list it as a topic they would discuss in brief opening remarks.

Source: White House press pool


“We have not been getting along very well for the last number of years,” Trump said. “…But I think we will have an extraordinary relationship. Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Source: White House press pool


Translators accompanied the leaders in the meetings, though Putin often reacted before the translation, clearly understanding Trump’s English.

Source: White House press pool


Trump’s opening remarks also congratulated Putin on hosting the World Cup, which he tweeted a day before to call “one of the best ever!”

Source: Business Insider


Trump and Putin ended the first public portion of the meeting with a handshake.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Then press left the room and the two world leaders began their one-on-one discussion, which lasted two hours.

Source: White House press pool


Trump and Putin then headed to lunch, flanked by their top aides, including US National Security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump told reporters he thought the meeting was a “very, very good start for everybody.”

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REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Source: White House press pool


Next up was a joint press conference. A man who identified himself as a journalist from the US-based publication The Nation was asked to leave the room, but re-entered to collect his things and held up a sign that said “nuclear weapon ban treaty”.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Security then forcibly removed the man, causing quite a commotion in the hall of the presidential palace.

Source: Business Insider


Trump and Putin then emerged to begin the first press conference between a US and Russian president in nearly a decade.

Source: Business Insider


Putin said Trump raised the issue of Russian meddling in the US election in their meeting and he denied any Russian involvement. “Russia never interfered and doesn’t plan to interfere in US domestic politics, including elections,” Putin said.

Source: The Guardian


Trump said the leaders had “a very constructive day” and he was “sure we’ll be meeting again in the future, often.”

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Source: The Guardian


At one point, Putin was handed a soccer ball from an aide and handed it to Trump in front of the laughing crowd, saying, “Mr. President, I will give this ball to you, and now the ball is in your court.”

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Putin said he was giving Trump the ball in honor of the United States, Canada, and Mexico hosting the 2026 World Cup.

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Grigory Dukor/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


“That will go to my son Barron. In fact, Melania? Here you go,” Trump said as he tossed the ball to Melania, who was sitting in the first row.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina later said on Twitter: “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.”

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Source: Twitter


Putin and Trump closed the press conference with a hand shake after Trump’s final comment referred to the ongoing federal investigation as a “witch hunt”.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Source: NPR


The president and first lady left on Air Force One after the press conference amid rising outcry from the media, lawmakers, and Americans over the president’s remarks.

More coverage of the Trump-Putin summit: