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DA NANG, Vietnam (CBSMiami) — It was the first time they’d met in four months.
President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin were spotted in Da Nang, Vietnam exchanging pleasantries and posing for pictures at the APEC economic summit.
The White House had officially denied that any formal meetings would take place. But the president says he spoke with his Russian counterpart two or three times.
In a joint statement, the two leaders called for more talks to end the Syrian civil war.
On Air Force One, Trump told reporters that during his brief chats with Putin, he asked again whether Russia meddled in the last election.
Trump said Putin denied it.
“He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” the president said.
And despite the firm insistence of U.S. intelligence agencies, President Trump called the matter an “artificial, Democratic hit job.” He said he thinks Putin is insulted by the lingering questions. And that, he said, “is not a good thing for our country.”
At each stop on this trip, the president has been hailing progress on trade.
At times, however, he’s found himself at odds with his Asian counterparts.
The 11 remaining nations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership reaffirmed their commitment to that trade deal, despite Trump’s move to pull the U.S. out.