President Donald Trump said he may ask Vladimir Putin to extradite 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted for hacking Democratic email accounts during the 2016 campaign, and said he has
“low expectations” for his summit on Monday with the Russian leader.
“I go in with low expectations,” Trump said in excerpts of an interview with CBS News released. “I’m not going with high expectations.”
A US grand jury issued an indictment against the agents, charging them with hacking into email accounts controlled by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The charges stem from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election and any involvement by Trump’s campaign, a probe the president has repeatedly derided as a “witch hunt.”
Trump was briefed on the indictments but said in the interview he hadn’t considered asking Putin to extradite the agents to the US.
“Well, I might,” Trump said after CBS News anchor asked about it. “I hadn’t thought of that. But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it. But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration.”
Trump and Putin are to meet in Helsinki, in a summit that the president’s critics fear could lead to him relaxing US sanctions against Russia, recognising Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, or other concessions.
Trump said in the interview that “nothing bad” would come from the summit, and listed his recent meetings with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and China’s Xi Jinping.
“I think it’s a good thing to meet. I do believe in meetings,” he said.
“I believe that having a meeting with Chairman Kim was a good thing. I think having meetings with the president of China was a very good thing. I believe it’s really good. So having meetings with Russia, China, North Korea, I believe in it.
“Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” the president said.