Much of Donald Trump ’ s time in office has been overshadowed by allegations Moscow helped get him elected, but when it came to confronting Vladimir Putin on the issue , the US president did it in a joke .
“ Don ’ t meddle in the election , president , don’ t meddle, ” Trump said with a smile , wagging his finger playfully at the Russian leader as the pair held talks in Osaka on Friday , on the sidelines of the G 20 .
Putin said nothing , but grinned in response to the comment, which came only after a reporter shouted a question , asking whether Trump would warn his Russian counterpart about influencing the presidential vote next year .The meeting was the first time the two leaders have held face – to – face talks since a controversial meeting last year in Helsinki .
Trump has been dogged throughout his presidency by allegations of suspicious ties to Russia .
A major probe led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller found there was an organised Russian campaign to influence the 2016 election won by Trump .
It found contacts between Russian operatives and Trump ’ s election campaign , but no evidence of a joint plot, and the US leader has characterised the findings as exonerating him .
Ahead of his meeting with Putin , Trump brushed aside questions from reporters about what they would discuss .
“ What I say to him is none of your business, ” he said at the White House .
But on Friday Trump said the pair would be discussing “ trade , some disarmament , a little protectionism perhaps . ”
“ A lot of very positive things are going to come out of the relationship , ” he predicted , to smiles from Putin .
“ I cannot but agree with Mr . President, ” the Russian leader said .