The two presidents came face to face for the very first time after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The two traded brief remarks about issues they planned to discuss when a reporter asked: “Mr President, will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?”
“Yes, of course I will,” Mr Trump replied gravely.
Then he turned to Mr Putin and said: “Don’t meddle in the election, please.” He pointed his finger at Mr Putin, smiled, and repeated: “Don’t meddle in the election,” as Mr Putin appeared amused.
Mr Trump had said in advance of his meeting with Putin that he expected a “very good conversation” with the Russian leader but told reporters that “what I say to him is none of your business.”
The Mueller investigation uncovered extensive evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that propelled Mr Trump to the White House.
It also found evidence of obstruction of justice and of collusion, but it did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump associates and the Kremlin to sway the outcome of the election.
Mr Trump has frequently dismissed the report’s findings by saying it found “no collusion!”
Ahead of the summit, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had pressed the president to directly challenge the Russian leader on election interference and send a signal “not merely to Putin but to all of our adversaries that interfering with our election is unacceptable, and that they will pay a price – a strong price – for trying.”
Mr Putin has denied that Russia meddled in the American election to help Trump win.
The meeting marked the first time Trump and Putin sat together publicly since their summit in Helsinki nearly a year ago.
At the news conference that followed the summit, Trump responded to a reporter’s question by declining to denounce Russia's election interference or side with his own intelligence agencies over Putin.
Additional reporting by Associated Press.
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