Following a day of discussions between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Mr. Trump left Monday's summit neglecting to hold Putin accountable for Russia's role in interfering in the 2016 presidential election -- saving most of his criticism for America itself.
"I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think that we've all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time, frankly, before I got to office," Mr. Trump said during a joint press conference with Putin.
Offered multiple chances to denounce Russia's actions, Mr. Trump instead placed blame on the FBI and said that he had "confidence" in both parties -- the intelligence community and Russia.
"All I can do is ask the question - my people came to me, Dan Coats 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 want to see the server but, I have confidence in both parties," Mr. Trump said.
He went so far as to say that Putin's denial of having been involved in the election was "extremely strong and powerful." Putin instead reiterated past claims that the "Russian state" has never and is not going to ever interfere in U.S. internal affairs, including elections, and offered to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller an opportunity to request to interrogate and question 12 Russian nationals indicted in his probe on Russian soil.
Mr. Trump meanwhile hailed the summit as being a success after for dialogue between the two nations following a private one-on-one discussion that lasted 2 hours long.
"The world wants to see us get along," Mr. Trump remarked earlier during the leaders' first formal meeting, adding, "I think we'll end up having an extraordinary relationship."
The president's top national security advisers had advised him publicly and privately to adopt a more hawkish tone towards Russia going into the summit, especially given the Justice Department's announcement Friday -- days before his meeting -- of a new round of indictments against 12 Russians for their alleged attempts to interfere in the presidential election.
See highlights of the leaders' meeting in Helsinki below:
What's on the schedule?
A senior U.S. official told CBS News that the two leaders will have extended one-on-one meeting, which has heightened concern among some U.S. officials regarding any concessions that may be made when the two are in the room together. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Russian government-funded network RT that it was the U.S. that requested that the Trump-Putin meeting take place without aides in the room.
According to top advisers of the president, Mr. Trump's private one-on-one meeting with Putin is scheduled to last about half-an-hour but could go even longer than that. Putin has met with three previous U.S. presidents before Mr. Trump, but never has there been a private session of this magnitude.
Afterward, Putin and Mr. Trump are also expected to take part in an expanded bilateral meeting that includes their top advisers, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The two leaders will also be holding a joint press conference following their meetings.
Russian aides also say that Putin and Mr. Trump may adopt a joint statement on international security issues, including "improving bilateral relations, both in terms of joint actions in the international arena and in terms of ensuring international stability and security."
Will Trump raise Russian meddling in 2016?
All eyes are on Mr. Trump to see if he will press Putin on Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election. National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters in Moscow late last month that he "expects it will be a subject of conversation between the two presidents."
Mr. Trump confirmed to reporters in Brussels during the NATO summit that he would in fact be asking about meddling during their meeting. Asked what he would do if the Russians denied such meddling, Mr. Trump replied: "He [Putin] may."
"He may deny it. It's one of those things. All I can say is, did you? And don't do it again. But he may deny. You'll be the first to know, okay."
The Kremlin, however, has repeatedly reiterated its denial of any interference with the election. "It was stated clearly by our side that the Russian state hasn't interfered with the U.S. domestic politics, moreover hasn't interfered in the 2016 election," Putin aide Yuri Ushakov said at a press conference last month after the U.S. and Moscow laid groundwork for the Helsinki meeting.
"The Russian state has never interfered and has no intention of interfering in U.S. elections," insisted Putin's foreign affairs adviser again on Friday, hours before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments.
Asked about the possibility of extraditing the Russians indicted in the DOJ's charges, Mr. Trump told Glor on Saturday, "I might."
Lawmakers have expressed serious concerns with the president's meeting since the announcement of the summit, particularly as it relates to the U.S. election system's integrity heading into the 2018 midterm elections.
Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer warned in a joint statement last week that if Mr. Trump leaves the summit with Putin without "ironclad assurances" from Russia that they won't carry out similar attacks on the U.S. election system, "this meeting will not only be a failure - it will be a grave step backward for the future of the international order and global security."
"The president needs to remember that, as Commander-in-Chief, his duty is to protect the American people from foreign threats, not to sell out our democracy to Putin," they added.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, said that the summit was not a surprise as Mr. Trump has a "disturbing affinity for authoritarian figures." He added that the president should use the meeting to confront Putin on Russian interference in the U.S. elections but worries it will instead end up being a "gift to the Kremlin."
Republican and frequent Trump critic Sen. John McCain cast doubt that the summit should even move forward in light of the new indictments.
McCain tweeted that Mr. Trump "must be willing to confront Putin from a position of strength and demonstrate there will be a price to pay for his ongoing aggression." He added, "If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the #HelsinkiSummit should not move forward."
Fellow Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona echoed that sentiment, tweeting that the indictments reaffirm that "election interference is not a question to be asked of Vladimir Putin, but a statement to be made to Vladimir Putin: You interfered in our elections."
Trump claims NATO members "thanked" him for Putin meeting
Ahead of Monday's meeting, Mr. Trump told reporters in Brussels that allied nations have expressed "the opposite of concern" over his summit with Putin and in fact thanked him for arranging it.
"They actually and they'll probably come out with a little bit of an edict. They actually thanked me for meeting. They thanked me for doing it and they gave us their best wishes. We'll see what happens. It's just a loose meeting. It's not a big schedule. It's not going to take a long time. And we'll see where it leads but it could lead to something very productive," Mr. Trump remarked on Thursday.
Trump tweets on success ahead of meeting
On Sunday before arriving in Helsinki, Mr. Trump tweeted that he looked forward to meeting with Putin but that no matter how successful it was, he predicted the news media would paint it as a failure.
"No matter how well I do at the summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn't good enough -- that i should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition," he tweeted.
Syria and Iran
A centerpiece of the Helsinki summit will be the future of Syria and a proposal to enlist Russia as a partner in ousting Iran from that battlefield.
Recently, on CBS News' "Face the Nation," National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton signaled to CBS News' Margaret Brennan that the U.S. has dropped its rhetorical opposition to dictator Bashar al Assad, who has held onto power in Syria through a mix of brutal tactics such as chemical weapons, and the firepower of Russian and Iranian forces, including Hezbollah.
"I don't think Assad is the strategic issue. I think Iran is the strategic issue," Bolton said. As Brennan has reported, the Trump administration has accepted that Assad will remain in power for the immediate future and has decided to focus on convincing Putin to sever ties with his battlefield partner Iran.
It's not clear that Russia has the leverage or ability to push out Iran, which has served as Assad's main patron through the war, now in its seventh year. The U.S. does have its own leverage through a limited military presence of about 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria to assist local forces in the fight against ISIS. But Mr. Trump has said he doesn't want to keep those troops in Syria.
There are concerns about brokering another deal with Russia on Syria, since Putin is already currently violating the 2017 agreement that he personally brokered with Trump to halt attacks inside a so-called de--escalation zone in southern Syria.
Ukraine, Crimea and sanctions
Leading up to the meeting with Putin, Mr. Trump has also been asked about Crimea. In response, he has blamed President Obama for allowing Putin to annex Crimea from Ukraine during his administration in 2014. Putin, Mr. Trump said at a news conference with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May last week that Obama "failed very badly with Crimea - I wouldn't have done that." "We'll have to see what happens," he added.
At the time, Mr. Obama condemned the move, and the U.S. and E.U. sanctioned Russia afterward. Even now, only countries like Venezuela and Syria recognize Crimea as part of Russia. In May, Russia bolstered its relationship with Crimea with the completed construction of a bridge from Russia to Crimea.
While Ukraine and some European allies fear that Mr. Trump will recognize the annexation of Crimea, National Security Adviser told ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," "That is not the policy of the U.S." The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman was also asked about Crimea Sunday. "I think it's highly unlikely that that will come up in their conversation," he told NBC's "Meet the Press," adding that there are "so many other things to talk about."
And at this point, U.S. sanctions against Russia over the annexation still remain in place, many of them dating back to the Obama administration in 2014. Russia has also been sanctioned by the U.S. over election meddling and other cyber attacks like NotPetya, which the U.S. and U.K. believe the Russian military executed, and which cost billions in damage across Europe, Asia and the U.S.
Trump claims U.S.-Russia relationship "never been worse"
Ahead of his meeting with Putin, Mr. Trump took to twitter, blaming poor relations with Russia on the ongoing Russia probe. He said that the U.S. relationship with Russia has "NEVER been worse" thanks to the "many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the rigged witch hunt!"
Russia's Foreign Minister tweeted some later that they "agreed" with the president's sentiment.
The president made similar claims to CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor in an interview on Saturday, where he said the U.S.-Russia relationship has been "greatly hampered" by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference int he 2016 election.
"I think we're greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that's going on in the United States. The Russian witch hunt. The rigged situation," said Mr. Trump in an interview with Glor at the president's golf course in Turnberry, Scotland on Saturday.
Trump on Putin meeting: "We'll do just fine"
Mr. Trump kicked off Monday's day of events by joining the President of the Republic of Finland and the first ladies at the Mäntyniemi Residence for an official welcome ceremony.
Later at a breakfast he thanked the president for hosting the historic summit and lauded the strength of the NATO alliance following his summit in Brussels.
"Well we think Finland's a great country. We had a fantastic meeting a few days ago. Some of you were there. It was a very successful meeting. I think NATO has never been more together. People are now agreeing to pay and we were having a lot of problem with a lot of people not paying as the president will tell you. And they're paying and they're paying more rapidly. And I think NATO's probably never been stronger than it is today," said Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump appeared to ignore questions when asked if he had a message to President Putin for later today, but told reporters in a shift from his early morning tweets: "We'll do just fine, thank you."
Clinton knocks Trump in World Cup tweet
Former 2016 presidential campaign challenger Hillary Clinton appeared to jab at Mr. Trump as he heads into his meeting with Putin on Monday in a tweet to mark the World Cup final.
"Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?" the former Secretary of State posed for the president.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump raised eyebrows for his own World Cup tweet, congratulating both the winning team, France, as well as Putin and Russia "for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament." He hailed it as "one of the best ever!"
Putin lands in Helsinki
After a slight delay, President Putin has touched down in Helsinki ahead of the summit. The Russian leader is expected to arrive at the Presidential Palace first, followed by Mr. Trump and first lady Melania Trump.
Putin arrives at presidential palace
Russian President Putin has arrived at the Presidential Palace as crowds of people lined the streets outside to watch the procession. He is greeted by President Niinitos upon his arrival. Mr. Trump is expected to follow behind Putin in roughly 10 minutes.
Trump arrives at palace for meeting
After a significant delay in schedule, Mr. Trump and the U.S. delegation have arrived at the Presidential Palace for their day of meetings. The first lady, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were seen following the president inside.
Trump predicts "extraordinary relationship" with Russia
"The world wants to see us get along," Mr. Trump remarked during the leaders' first formal meeting in Helsinki. He added, "Getting along with Russia is a good thing not a bad thing."
He spent a majority of time congratulating the leader on hosting a successful World Cup but said the two had a "lot of good things to talk about" in their private meeting today. Issues the president previewed as topics for discussion include trade, military, missiles and China.
"We have great opportunities together as two countries that frankly we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years," Mr. Trump said. "I think we'll end up having an extraordinary relationship," he predicted.
Mr. Trump added that the fact the two countries share a commonality in being nuclear powers is "not a good thing, that's a bad thing."
"I think we hopefully can do something about that, it's not a positive force it's a negative force so we'll be talking about that among other things," Mr. Trump said at the close of their first meeting.
According to the Associated Press, Putin, who spoke before Mr. Trump due to diplomatic protocol of being considered the "host" country, said that "the time has come to talk thoroughly about bilateral relations as well as various hotspots in the world." He called the meeting part of "continued constant contacts" between the two leaders.
Mr. Trump and Putin shook hands without answering shouted questions from reporters before heading to their private one-on-one meeting.
Finland press chief: Trump-Putin meeting still ongoing
According to the press chief from Finland, the one-on-one bilateral meeting between Mr. Trump and Putin is still ongoing, reaching nearly two hours of discussions so far.
Trump holds call with Turkey's Erdogan prior to summit
Amid news of the summit, the national security council confirms that Mr. Trump held a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to a Turkish readout of the call held on Monday, the leaders discussed topics raised at last week's NATO summit, including developments Syria. President Erdogan also extended his wishes of success for the summit between Putin and Mr. Trump.
Trump hails summit with Putin "a very good start"
During a working bilateral lunch with the Russian delegation, Mr. Trump told reporters after his 2-hour long private meeting with Putin that the summit so far was off to a "good start."
"I think it's a good start, a very good start for everybody," he said when asked how the meeting went.
The U.S. delegation present at the working lunch with Mr. Trump included U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser John Bolton and National Security Council adviser Fiona Hill.
CBS News' Margaret Brennan reports that Hill, a Putin biographer and former intelligence office, is clear eyed in terms of the current threat Russia poses to the U.S. and was given a prominent position at the summit on Monday by Bolton deliberately.
Bolton himself has also negotiated with Putin during the Bush years.
Also in the room: Anatoly Antonov who not only negotiated the new START treaty with the Obama administration but is also a general currently under sanctions in the EU & Canada for having helped direct operations in Ukraine to annex Crimea, Brennan reports. He told CBS News last year that he can't get meetings with U.S. officials in D.C.
Next on the schedule: the two leaders head to their joint press conference within the next hour to mark the conclusion of the summit.
Stage is set for joint press conference
The room begins to fill ahead of the leaders' joint press conference in Helsinki. According to CBS News' Mark Knoller count, it's been years (roughly 8) since a U.S. and Russian president have last held a joint press conference:
July 24, 2010 - President Obama and President Medvedev at the White House
July 6, 2009 - President Obama and President Medvedev in Moscow
April 6, 2008 - President George W. Bush and President Putin in Sochi, Russia
Man removed before joint press conference
CBS News' Arden Farhi reports that a person claiming to be a reporter from "The Nation" was forcibly escorted from the press conference room by security agents.
Initially he cooperated with security and walked out of the room. When he returned, he said he was being accused of having a sign. He denied that and then brandished a piece of notebook paper with the message "Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty."
Putin says "Cold War" over at start of joint press conference
President Putin said discussions with Mr. Trump were conducted in a "frank and business-like atmosphere."
"I think we can call it a success," he added, urging that the U.S. and Russia need to solve world issues together.
"The current tension and atmosphere essentially have no solid reason behind it. The cold war is a thing of the past," said Putin.
On nuclear proliferation, Putin acknlowedged that as two of the world's leading nuclear powers Russia and the U.S. "bear special responsibility for maintaining international security."
The Russian leader also adressed the ongoing crisis in Syria saying that the task of peace and reconciliation could be a showcase of the joint effort between the U.S. and Russia.
Putin again denies Russian interference in 2016
President Putin addressed the issue of "so-called interference" in the 2016 presidential elections, saying during his meeting with Mr. Trump he reiterated his statements from the past.
"The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into American internal affairs including the election process," Putin said. He said, however, that Russia is ready to "analyze" the issue together for through a joint working group on cyber security with the U.S.
Trump calls summit "deeply productive"
Mr. Trump said he engaged in "deeply productive dialogue" with Putin that "went very well."
He said that disagreements between the two countries are "well known" and were discussed at length in the leaders' private meeting.
"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."
He claimed that the poor relationship with Russia has effectively "changed" as a result of the summit.
Trump says Putin "wants" to address interference, denuclearization
While vague, Mr. Trump said that the two leaders spent a "great deal of time" talking about the issue of election interference, suggesting that Putin "may want to address it and very strongly because he feels very strongly about it and he has an interesting idea."
On nuclear proliferation, Mr. Trump said he updated Putin on his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"After today I am very sure that President Putin and Russia want very much to end that problem and they're going to work with us and I appreciate that commitment," Mr. Trump said.
Trump says summit "only the beginning of a longer process"
The president hailed Monday's meeting as a "first step toward a brighter future and one toward a strong dialogue and a lot of thought."
He said that he expects the U.S. and Russia to participate in more dialogue sometime in the future.
Putin, Trump address natural gas pipeline
Mr. Trump said that the two nations would be competing with regards to a natural gas pipeline. He said he was "not sure necessarily it's in the best interest of Germany" to pursue a deal with Russia.
Putin meanwhile suggested as two major oil and gas power producers, Russia and the U.S. could work together on the regulation of international markets.
"Neither of us is interested in the plummeting of the prices and the consumers will suffer as well," said Putin.
Trump says he holds U.S. and Russia accountable for 2016 interference
"I think the U.S. has been foolish, I think we've all been foolish we all should've had this dialogue long time ago," said Mr. Trump when asked if he holds Russia accountable for anything. "
"We both have made some mistakes," he added, once again slamming special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe as a "disaster for our country." He defended himself saying that there was "nobody to collude with."
Putin suggest he'd "look into" extraditing indicted Russians
Putin suggested that based on existing agreements, the U.S. should send requests to allow Russian law enforcement to interrogate and question the Russian indicted in Mueller's probe.
He said he'd even permit Mueller's team to be present for such questioning. He noted, however that Russia would expect the same treatment from Americans and reciprocate.
Mr. Trump later called Putin's suggestion an "incredible offer."
Did Putin want Trump to win? "Yes" he says
Asked if Putin wanted Mr. Trump to win the 2016 presidential election amid concerns that Russia had a hand in interfering in the election process, Putin replied: "Yes, I did, yes I did, because he talked about bringing U.S.-Russia relations back to normal."
Putin jokes ball is in Trump's court, hands over soccer ball
Putin gifted Mr. Trump with a World Cup soccer ball, saying that now the "ball is in your court." Mr. Trump threw the ball to his wife Melania.
Trump says Putin was "strong" in his denial of election interference
"All I can do is ask the question," Mr. Trump said when asked if he would take the time to officially denounce President Putin for influencing the election and demand he not do so again.
Mr. Trump instead proceeded to blame the FBI and ask "what happened to Hillary Clinton's emails."
The president said that while he has "confidence" in both parties -- the intelligence community and Russia -- Putin's denial of meddling in the election was "extremely strong and powerful."
When asked if Putin had any compromising or damaging information on Mr. Trump from his time in Russia, Putin told reporters that he had heard of such a rumor, but that when Mr. Trump visited Russia for the Miss Universe pageant, he claimed, "I didn't even know he was in Moscow."
"Back then, when he was a private individual, a businessman, no one informed me he was in Moscow," claimed Putin.
Mr. Trump responded as well, saying that if Russia had any compromising material on him, "it would have been out long ago."
Trump, Putin end summit with no clear resolution
The joint press conference ends and the president's summit with Putin comes to a close without any real resolution to ongoing tensions with Russia. Mr. Trump now heads back to the United States due to arrive later Monday evening.
Reaction pours in after summit
Members of the political world are reacting to Mr. Trump's summit with Putin after failing to place blame on the Russians for their role in the 2016 election.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona tweeted that the president's press conference was "shameful", adding that he never thought he'd see a day when the president "would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression."
House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement that there's "no question" Russia interfered in the U.S. elections, citing the findings of U.S. intelligence community and separate Congressional committee investigations.
"The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy," Ryan added.
Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, called the meeting a "missed opportunity to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections."
Former CIA Director John Brennan meanwhile took a much harsher route, tweeting that the president's performance in Helsinki was "nothing short of treasonous."
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, said in a statement that Mr. Trump's blame of the U.S. for the deterioration of relations with Russia was "bizarre and flat-out wrong."
"The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression. When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs," Sasse added.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Bob Mendez of New Jersey called the meeting "disturbing, shameful, jaw-dropping and disgraceful."
"I am running out of words to describe how despicable it is to see an American President capitulate to a dictator," he told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Mark Warner, Vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the president's blame on the U.S. for Russian interference, a "complete disgrace."
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi called it a "sad day for America." She added that Mr. Trump's "weakness in front of Putin was embarrassing, and proves that the Russians have something on the President, personally, financially or politically."
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, meanwhile said the president's refusal to acknlowledge that Putin had a role int he U.S. elections "should alarm us all."
"The president's unwillingness to stand up to him and defend our nation is unacceptable and embarrassing," Nelson added.