A political maverick who is being unfairly targeted by his own compatriots - that's the common portrayal of Trump on Russia's largely Kremlin-friendly TV networks, websites and newspapers.
"I've been saying, and I'm sure you've heard over the years.that getting along with Russian Federation is a good thing not a bad thing", Trump said, seated next to Putin at the start of talks in an ornate presidential palace in neutral Finland.
He also said in the interview, taped Saturday, that he "hadn't thought" about asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in Washington on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets in the 2016 US presidential election.
He added on Sunday that he had low expectations for the meeting, but "nothing bad is going to come out of it and maybe some good will come out".
But the U.S. leader insisted that his counterpart had delivered a "powerful" denial of any Russian manipulation, and that the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller was proving a "disaster" for the United States.More news: Thai Boys Rescued from Flooded Cave Make First Public Appearance
Trump says he will use the meeting to find areas of cooperation with Putin, who is also critical of Western institutions such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.
Trump made the brief prediction Monday at a breakfast at Finland's presidential residence in Helsinki.
But after being given the idea by his interviewer, Trump said; "Certainly I'll be asking about it".
Clinton tweeted Sunday night, ahead of the President's first official summit with Putin, taking place in Helsinki, Finland.More news: Adidas promised by 2024, to use only recycled plastic
Throughout the visit, Trump was greeted with mass protests in Scotland, London, Newcastle and other cities as United Kingdom residents took to the streets with homemade placards to call for an end to his controversial policies.
Trump has been reluctant to criticise Putin over the years and has described him in recent days not as an enemy but as a competitor.
Anti-Trump protesters gathered in Helsinki's Senate Square and marched through the Finnish capital and ended their demonstration at the square. "And it is why I believe we are at a critical point", Coats said.
The Obama administration did, in fact, take action, including confronting Putin in person as well as expelling almost three dozen Russian diplomats the US said were actually intelligence operatives and imposing new sanctions.
There is anxiety in Washington that Putin could convince Trump to hand over areas of Syria to Russia's client Bashar al-Assad, in a way that will benefit Iran, because of his eagerness to get United States troops home. We are the two great nuclear powers.
President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin are ready to go one-on-one in Finland. He had ramped up his rhetoric ahead of the talks - including in three separate tirades on Twitter last Monday and Tuesday - making the summit one of the most hard in years for the military alliance that has underpinned European security since World War II.More news: British Open: Predictions for the 147th Open at Carnoustie
Trump is also once again blaming his predecessor, Barack Obama, for failing to stop Russia's efforts in the 2016 election.