01:31 PM, July 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:41 PM, July 16, 2018

Trump blames bad Russia ties on FBI 'witch hunt'

A military stands guard in front of Mannerheiminties statue in Helsinki, Finland on July 15, 2018, ahead of the meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. US President Donald Trump touched down in Helsinki on late July 15, 2018 on the eve of a much-anticipated summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Photo: AFP

US President Donald Trump set the scene for his summit with Vladimir Putin today by blaming the chill in relations with Moscow on the investigation into Russian interference in his election victory.

"Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" Trump tweeted, referring to US special prosecutor Robert Mueller's probe.

Read more: Trump, Putin to hold first summit talks today

Last week, Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking computer servers belonging to Trump's 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton and her Democratic Party, then leaking private emails to damage her campaign.



Trump has furiously denied his campaign colluded in the alleged interference, and has generally denounced the special investigation as a "witch hunt" promoted by his enemies to delegitimise his victory.

At the same time, the US leader has promised to bring up the issue at his summit with Putin in Helsinki.