People attend 'Helsinki Calling' protest ahead of meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland July 15, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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If U.S. President Donald Trump was inclined to be tentative when raising election meddling with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday, the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking in 2016 has made that approach a much harder sell.The charges put an even greater spotlight on Trump's treatment of Putin, who has denied making efforts to intervene in the U.S. election that Trump, a Republican, unexpectedly won.When asked at a news conference in Britain Friday whether he would tell Putin to stay out of U.S. elections, Trump said, "Yes".Democratic lawmakers urged Trump to cancel the get-together with Putin.Trump weighed in on the indictments Saturday.Trump often blames Obama for problems affecting his presidency.Trump's belief in a "deep state" network of government and intelligence officials who are acting to damage him is another area Putin could exploit, using the timing of Friday's announcement to play on Trump's mistrust of the investigation into the 2016 election, CSIS' Mankoff said.
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