“President Putin and I have been discussing various things and I think it’s going very well,” President Donald Trump said during a photo op at today’s first meeting between Trump and Russian ruler Vladimir Putin in Hamburg.

“We’ve had some very, very good talks. Obviously that will continue. But we look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States, and for everybody concerned,” Trump said as the two men exchanged off-the-shelf remarks of mutual good will.

“It’s an honor to be with you,” Trump added before the two men shook hands at their meeting during the G20 summit.

Via translator, Putin noted they have spoken over the phone several times “on very important bilateral and international issues” but “phone conversation is never enough.” So “I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President,” Putin said, adding he hoped the meeting would “yield positive results.”

One day earlier, in Warsaw, Trump dinged Russia for “destabilizing” Central and Eastern Europe. Asked whether Moscow interfered in the 2016 election, Trump had replied:  “Well, I think it was Russia and I think it could have been other people or other countries.”

He did not elaborate.

Trump and Putin were joined at Friday’s private meeting only by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and two translators.

While Congress is pressuring Trump to put new sanctions on Russia and to confront Putin about Russia’s U.S. election tampering, they were expected to focus on Syria, Ukraine, and North Korea.

Unclear if Trump or, more likely Tillerson, will hold a presser post-meeting.
Last time a Republican POTUS met for the first time with Putin, George W. Bush said later that he found Putin to be straightforward and trustworthy, adding,  “I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”