Around 2,500 people gathered in Helsinki for a peaceful demonstration to promote human rights, the protection of the environment and democracy ahead of the summit on Sunday.
All this has understandably fueled speculation that something very odd is going on between Trump and Putin, something beyond the president's reflexive admiration for autocrats. "Well I might, I hadn't thought of that, but I certainly, I'll be asking about it", Trump said. A choir, a bagpiper, a tambourine band and poetry readings added to the carnival spirit.
Protesters also launched a 20-foot-tall (6-meter) blimp depicting Trump as an angry baby that had flown over anti-Trump protests in London on Friday.
Charly Salonius-Pasternak, an analyst at the Finnish Foreign Policy Institute, is among those casting a pessimistic eye on the summit - especially after Trump's chaotic appearance at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and disruptive visit to the United Kingdom over the past week. Trump has denied any collusion with the Russians by his campaign and Russia denies it meddled.
A probe over allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election has clouded Trump's presidency. "We had much better defences, so they couldn't", Trump said during the CBS interview.
Speaking before the summit in Helsinki, Trump added that his Republican Party had also been the target of Russian hacking efforts but had superior cybersecurity measures in place.
On ABC's "This Week", White House national security adviser John Bolton tried to put a positive spin on the indictments stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, a probe that Trump has called a "rigged witch hunt" and bad for the U.S.
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Contact with him by the USA president during his visit would be seen by many as an insult to May. Maybe we'll speak to him when I get over there.
But he said in Britain that he would raise the election meddling with Putin even as he played down its impact.
"I will absolutely bring that up". And I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security. While summits with Russian leaders are far more common, Trump believes a similar boost would occur if he can improve relations with Moscow and get Putin to make concessions never attained by President Barack Obama.
Jeffrey Mankoff, a Russian Federation expert at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said: 'Trump has maybe a little less room to maneuver if he wants to downplay the issue or pretend that it's not real'. CBS News host Jeff Glor asked.
"So amusing! I just checked out Fake News CNN, for the first time in a long time (they are dying in the ratings), to see if they covered my takedown yesterday of Jim Acosta (actually a nice guy). Deep State?" Trump asked on Twitter.
In fact, Trump's father was born in New York City.
"The reason why we have hard relations with Russian Federation is not because of the Mueller probe, but because Russian Federation intervened in our election", Mr. Warner said.
The US president used a stormy G7 summit in Canada to ponder whether it was time to readmit Russian Federation to the club, and move past sanctions imposed over Moscow's seizure of the Crimea region from Ukraine.