Trump presses Putin on Russian involvement in US election during first meeting

HAMBURG, July 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump pressed Vladimir Putin at their first meeting on Friday about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

The Russian president has denied any meddling in the U.S. democratic process last year and Moscow has asked for proof that it took place.

Trump promised a rapprochement with Moscow during his campaign for the presidency last year. But he has been unable to deliver on that pledge because his administration has been dogged by investigations into the allegations of Russian interference in the election and ties between his campaign and Moscow. Trump says his team did not collude with Russia.

Putin and Trump interact at first major meeting

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US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Leaders Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet at the G-20 in Hamburg. 

(Image: Reuters video)

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Leaders Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet at the G-20 in Hamburg. 

(Image: Reuters video)

HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 7, 2017: Melania Trump (L), First Lady of the United States, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit. Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), Donald Trump, President of the USA (C) meets Vladimir Putin, President of Russia and President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (L) during the G20 Summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 group of nations are meeting July 7-8 and major topics will include climate change and migration. (Photo by BPA via Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA) Donald Trump, President of the USA (left), meets Vladimir Putin, President of Russia (right), at the opening of the G20 summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 group of nations are meeting July 7-8 and major topics will include climate change and migration. (Photo by Steffen Kugler /BPA via Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: International leaders attend the group photo on the first day of the G20 economic summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 group of nations are meeting July 7-8 and major topics will include climate change and migration. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to the US first lady Melania Trump (R) as they attend a state banquet in the Elbphilarmonie concert Hall on the first day of the G20 economic summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 group of nations are meeting July 7-8 and major topics will include climate change and migration. . (Photo by Felipe Trueba - Pool / Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: World leaders pose for a family photo during the G20 summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are meeting for the July 7-8 summit. Topics high on the agenda for the summit include climate policy and development programs for African economies. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin talks to U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in a family photo along with French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S.President Donald Trump, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, South African President Jacob Zuma, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazilian President Michel Temer, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, U.N. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Senegal's President Macky Sall, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Saudi Arabia Minister of State Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Secretary Jose Angel Gurria, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director Roberto Azevedo, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, International Labour Organization (ILO) Director Guy Ryder, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Financial Stability Board (FSB) President Mark Carney and other leaders at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, South African President Jacob Zuma, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and other leaders pose for a family photo at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin talks to Melania Trump during the official dinner at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kay Nietfeld,Pool
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C-R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C-L) hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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Speaking on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Hamburg, Tillerson said the two leaders "had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject. The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement."

"The two leaders agreed that this is a substantial hindrance in the ability of us to move the Russian-U.S. relationship forward," Tillerson told reporters.

They agreed to work on commitments of "non-interference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process as well as those in other countries," he added.

SEE ALSO: Sitting next to Mexico's president, Trump says he 'absolutely' still wants him to pay for a border wall

The face-to-face encounter was one of the most eagerly anticipated meetings between two leaders in years.

Trump and Putin spoke through translators with their respective foreign ministers present for six minutes before reporters were allowed into the room for their statements. Afterwards the reporters were ushered out and the meeting continued.

"President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it's going very well," Trumptold reporters, sitting alongside the Russian leader.

"We've had some very, very good talks. We're going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue. We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned. And it's an honor to be with you."

Putin, through a translator, said: "We spoke over the phone with you several times," adding: "A phone conversation is never enough."

RELATED: Donald Trump attends G-20

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A motorcade with the U.S. President Donald Trump leaves his residence for the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets U.S. President Donald Trump at the beginning of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/John MACDOUGALL,POOL
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump share a laugh at the start of the "retreat meeting" on the first day of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/John MACDOUGALL,POOL
US President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May meet at the start of the "retreat meeting" on the first day of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/John MACDOUGALL,POOL
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: U.S President Donald Trump speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron after posing for the family photo at the start of the the G20 summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are meeting for the July 7-8 summit. Topics high on the agenda for the summit include climate policy and development programs for African economies. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: (L-R) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May during the G20 leaders retreat as part of the G20 summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are meeting for the July 7-8 summit. Topics high on the agenda for the summit include climate policy and development programs for African economies. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel - Pool/Getty Images)
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"I am delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President," he said, noting that he hoped the meeting would yield results.

Both men sat with legs splayed. Trump listened intently as Putin spoke.

The meeting lasted more than two hours and U.S. first lady Melania Trump came in at one point to urge them to conclude, Tillerson said.

Before the meeting, some feared the Republican president, a political novice whose team is still developing its Russia policy, would be less prepared for the talks than Putin, a former KGB agent who has dealt with the last two U.S. presidents and scores of other world leaders.

Amid criticism of Russia's actions in Ukraine and Syria and the investigations into its role in the U.S. campaign, Trump has come under growing pressure to take a hard line against the Kremlin.

SEE ALSO: President Donald Trump calls meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin an 'honor,' cites 'very good talks'

On Thursday, Trump delivered some of his sharpest remarks about Moscow since becoming president, urging Russia to stop its "destabilizing activities" and end its support for Syria and Iran.

But Trump stopped short on Thursday of any personal criticism of Putin and declined to say definitively whether he believed U.S. intelligence officials' assertion that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

"I think it was Russia but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure," Trump said on a visit to Poland.

(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington; Writing by Jeff Mason and Noah Barkin; editing by David Stamp)

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