COMMENT:

TRUMP

They liked me in the UK but they loved me in Helsinki. People were screaming my name in the streets. They carried huge banners which read, "Welcome to Hell."

PUTIN

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We set up the projector.

TRUMP

We were shown into a private room. Putin sat on a very high, very beautiful throne. I was given a stool to sit on at his feet. The fake news media will see that as a power imbalance but I used it to my advantage, because it meant I could keep my ears to the ground.

PUTIN

He complimented my shoes. He observed they were so shiny that he could see his reflection in them.

"But you know what it's like," I told him. "They lose their sheen after a while. Here."

TRUMP

I got to work on shining his shoes, and asked him if Russia had interfered in the presidential election.

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PUTIN

I shrugged.

TRUMP

He was extremely strong and powerful in his denial. He assured me there was no collusion whatsoever.

And really I think that ought to put the whole matter to bed.

Because there are two conflicting stories here and it's pretty obvious which one is real and which one is lies.

Intelligence agencies have said they think it's Russia. They have prepared dossiers, really looked into it, they've done their homework, and concluded that they think Russia interfered in the presidential election.

But Putin just said it's not Russia. And I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be.

PUTIN

We broke for lunch. I was seated at the head of a banquet table and served fish soup, hot-smoked sturgeon with lemon and butter, sausage, escalope, cutlets, beef with rice, a pie with red caviar, smoked eel, and pancakes with strawberries.

TRUMP

There was only seat at the table so I ordered take-out.

PUTIN

We resumed our talks. "You missed a spot," I said.

TRUMP

I rolled up my sleeves, and got to work.

PUTIN

I asked if there was anything else he wanted to raise.

TRUMP

I said, "Would you like to help in the successful denuclearisation of North Korea?"

PUTIN

I shrugged.

TRUMP

He gave me a very clear understanding that he'd help. He agrees with what I'm doing and that I'm doing a great job. So I think we have a deal. There's no rush. There's no missiles going off. There's no testing, so we've come a long way in a short period of time. Putin feels strongly about it and I feel strongly about it, so that's good.

PUTIN

I asked him if he'd like to see a little movie.

TRUMP

My knees were pretty sore by this time, and it was good to sit down.

PUTIN

I said I had already seen it many times, and that I would leave him to enjoy it by himself.

TRUMP

When I staggered out of the room, the McDelivery order had arrived. Putin opened the bag, and started eating my burger.

PUTIN

I looked him straight in the eye, and said, "This is all for me, right?"

TRUMP

I looked down at his shoes and mumbled that I didn't see any reason why it wouldn't be.