Britain Trump Visit

A six-meter high cartoon baby blimp of U.S. President Donald Trump stands inflated during a practice session in Bingfield Park, north London.


LONDON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that the United States' relationship with Russia has been "hurt very badly" because of what he calls the "rigged witch hunt."

He was referring to the special counsel's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

During a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump referenced Thursday's congressional testimony from an embattled FBI agent who was removed from the special counsel's team following the discovery of anti-Trump texts.

Trump said the probe into any ties between his campaign and Russia hurts the U.S. relationship with Russia ahead of Monday's summit in Helsinki with President Vladimir Putin.

When asked how he would broach Russia's occupation of Crimea with Putin, Trump declined to be specific, saying, "We'll see what happens."

Also:

— Trump said May was an "incredible woman" who is "doing a fantastic job" as the British prime minister.

Trump commented as he sought to soften the blow after he criticized aspects of her leadership in an interview published Thursday by a British tabloid.

Trump said he knows May much better over several days of meetings and socializing this week: "I think she's a terrific woman."

Asked to rate U.S.-U.K. relations, Trump gave them the "highest level of special."

Trump also reiterated that Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister. Johnson recently resigned as British foreign minister to protest May's handling of Britain's exit from the EU.

— Trump and May expressed different views on the benefits of immigration to Europe.

Trump said that immigration has been "very bad" for Europe and is changing the culture of the continent.

May said the United Kingdom has a "proud history" of welcoming people to its country, and immigration has been "good" for the U.K.

May said people of different backgrounds have contributed to her country's society, but it's important to have a "set of rules" when it comes to immigration.

The two leaders were asked about Trump's interview with The Sun newspaper in which he argued that Europe is "losing its culture" because of immigration.

— Trump said not to expect a "Perry Mason" moment when he and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet early next week.

Trump said he would raise the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with Putin. But he said he doesn't think Putin will say "you got me."

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia meddled in the election to try to help Trump get elected. Putin denies interfering. Trump has also reiterated Putin's denials.

Trump add that he'll discuss other issues with Putin, mentioning Ukraine, Syria, other areas of the Middle East and nuclear proliferation.

The leaders are scheduled to hold talks Monday in Helsinki.

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