Executive Intelligence Review

FROM EIR DAILY ALERT


Putin-Trump Press Conference in Helsinki, Excerpts from Media Q&A

July 16, 2018 (EIRNS)—Here are excerpts from the media questions to Presidents Trump and Putin at their joint press conference:

Interfax: [Asked about Trump’s calling Germany a hostage of Russia due to Nord Stream 2, and about Trump calling Putin a “rival.”]

Trump: Well, actually I called him a competitor. And a good competitor he is. And I think the word “competitor” is a compliment.

I think that we will be competing when you talk about the pipeline. I’m not sure, necessarily, that it’s in the best interests of Germany or not, but that was a decision that they made. We’ll be competing—as you know, the United States is now—or soon will be, but I think it actually is right now the largest in the oil and gas world....

Putin: ...We are aware of the stance of President Trump, and I think that we, as a major oil and gas power, and the United States as a major oil and gas power as well, we could work together on regulation of international markets, because neither of us is actually interested in the plummeting of the prices. And the consumers will suffer as well, and the consumers in the United States will suffer as well. And the shale gas production will suffer. Because beyond a sudden price drop, it’s no longer profitable to—to produce gas.

But nor we are interested in driving prices up....

Then about the Nord Stream 2, Mr. President voiced his concerns about the possibility of disappearance of transit through Ukraine. And I reassured Mr. President that Russia stands ready to maintain this transit. Moreover, we stand ready to extend this transit contract that’s about to expire next year in case—if the dispute between the economic entitles—dispute will be settled in the Stockholm arbitration court.

Reuters (Jeff Mason): Mr. President, you tweeted this morning that it’s U.S. foolishness, stupidity and the Mueller probe that is responsible for the decline in U.S. relations with Russia. Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular?...

Trump: Yes I do. I hold both countries responsible. 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 were 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 probe is a disaster for our country. I think it has kept us apart, it’s kept us separated.

There was no collusion at all....

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.

Reuters: For President Putin..., why should Americans and why should President Trump believe your statement that Russia did not intervene in the 2016 election, given the evidence that U.S. intelligence agencies have provided?

And will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a U.S. grand jury?...

Putin: As to who is to be believed and to who’s not to be believed, you can trust no one if you take this.

Where did you get this idea that President Trump trusts me or I trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America, and I do defend the interests of the Russian Federation.

We do have interests that are common. We are looking for points of contact. There are issues where our postures diverge, and we are looking for ways to reconcile our differences, how to make our effort more meaningful.

We should not proceed from the immediate political interests that guide certain political powers in our countries. We should be guided by facts.

Could you name a single fact that would definitely prove the collusion? This is utter nonsense, just like the president recently mentioned....

President Trump, when he was a candidate, he mentioned the need to restore the Russia-U.S. relationship. And it’s clear that certain parts of American society felt sympathetic about it, and different people could express their sympathies in different ways. But isn’t that natural? Isn’t it natural to be sympathetic towards a person who is willing to restore the relationship with our country, who wants to work with us?

We heard the accusations about the Concord Company. Well, as far as I know, this company hired American lawyers and the accusations don’t have a fighting chance in the American courts. So there’s no evidence when it comes to the actual facts. So we have to be guided by facts and not by rumors.

Now let’s get back to the issue of these 12 alleged intelligence officers of—of Russia.... We have enacted an existing agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, an existing treaty that dates back to 1999. The Mutual Assistance on Criminal Cases. This treaty is in full effect. It works quite efficiently....

So this treaty has specific legal procedures we can offer the appropriate commission headed by Special Attorney Mueller. He can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal—an official request to us so that we would interrogate ... these individuals who he believes are privy to some crimes. And our law enforcement are perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriate materials to the United States.

Moreover, we can meet you halfway. We can make another step. We can actually permit official representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller—we can let them into the country and they will be present at this questioning.

But in this case ... there is another condition. This kind of effort should be a mutual one. Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate, and that they would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence service of the United States, whom we believe ... have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia, and we have to—to request the presence of our law enforcement.

For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They never paid any taxes, neither in Russia nor in the United States, and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent huge amounts of money, $400 million as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s the personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself, but the way the money was earned was illegal.

So we have a solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions. So we have an interest of questioning them.... Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework....

AP (Jonathan Lemire): Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. My first question for you [President Trump], sir, is who do you believe?

My second question is would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?

Trump: ...You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server—haven’t they taken the server. Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?

I’ve been wondering that, I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?

With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia.

I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. But I really do want to see the server.

But I have—I have confidence in both parties ... but, I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing; where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s e-mails? 33,000 e-mails gone—just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 e-mails.

So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

And what he did is, an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer. OK?

Putin: I’d like to add something to this. After all, I was an intelligence officer myself, and I do know how dossiers are made up. That’s the first thing.

Now the second thing: I believe that Russia is a democratic state, and I hope you are not denying this right to your own country, you’re not denying that United States is a democracy. Do you believe United States is a democracy? And if so, if it is a democratic state, then the final conclusion in this kind of a dispute can only be delivered by a trial, by the court, not by the executive, by the law enforcement.

For instance, the Concord Company that was brought up is being accused, it’s been accused of interference. But this company does not constitute the Russian state. It does not represent the Russian state. And I brought several examples before.

Well, you have a lot of individuals in the United States—take George Soros, for instance—with multibillion in capital, but does it make him—his position, his posture—the posture of the United States? No, it does not. Well, it’s the same case.

There is the issue of trying a case in the court, and the final say is for the court to deliver.

We are now talking about private individuals, not about particular states. And as far as the most recent allegation is concerned, about the Russian intelligence officers, we do have an intergovernmental treaty. Please do send us the request. We will analyze it properly, and well send a formal response.

And as I said, we can extend this cooperation, but we should do it on a reciprocal basis, because we would await our Russian counterparts to provide us access to the persons of interest for us, who we believe can have something to do with the intelligence services.

Let’s discuss the specific issues, and not use the Russia and the U.S. relationship as a loose change—the loose change for this internal political struggle.

Question: A question for President Putin. Can you tell me what President Trump may have indicated to you about officially recognizing Crimea as part of Russia?

And then secondly, sir, do you, does the Russian government have any compromising material on President Trump or his family? [laughter]

Putin: President Trump and—well, posture of President Trump on Crimea is well known, and he stands firmly by it. He continued to maintain that it was illegal to annex it.

Our viewpoint is different. We held a referendum in strict compliance with the UN Charter and the international legislation....

And now, to the compromising material. Yeah, I did hear these rumors that we allegedly collected compromising material on Mr. Trump when he was visiting Moscow. Well, distinguished colleague, let me tell you this: When President Trump was at Moscow back then, I didn’t even know that he was in Moscow. I treat President Trump with utmost respect, but back then when he was a private individual, a businessman, nobody informed me that he was in Moscow.

Well, let’s take St. Petersburg Economic Forum, for instance. There were over 500 American businessmen, high-ranking, high-level ones. I don’t even remember the last names of each and every one of them. Well—do you think that we try to collect compromising material on each and every single one of them?

Well, it’s difficult to imagine an utter nonsense of a bigger scale than this.

Well, please, just disregard these issues and don’t think about this anymore again.

Trump: It would have been out long ago. And if anybody watched Peter Strzok testify over the last couple of days—and I was in Brussels watching it—it was a disgrace to the FBI, it was a disgrace to our country, and you would say that was a total witch hunt.

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