US officials had hoped that maybe, just maybe, the summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would end differently - without a freewheeling 46-minute news conference in which Trump attacked his own FBI on foreign soil and warmly praised archrival Russia.

Ahead of the meeting, staffers provided Trump with some 100 pages of briefing materials aimed at laying out a tough posture towards Putin, but the President ignored most of it, according to one person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Trump's remarks were "very much counter to the plan", the person said.

"Everyone around Trump" was urging him to take a firm stance with Putin, according to a second person familiar with the preparations.

Before the meeting, the second person said, advisers covered matters from Russia's annexation of Crimea to its interference in the US elections, but Trump "made a game-time decision" to handle the summit his way.

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However, signs that things might not go according to plan were evident during the two days Trump spent holed up at his luxury seaside golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland.

The President spent much of the weekend "growling", in the words of one White House official, over the Justice Department's indictment on Saturday of 12 Russian intelligence officials for interfering in the 2016 election.

Trump also made it clear that he was more excited to sit down with the Russian President than he had been to meet his supposed Nato allies last week in Brussels.

"He loved the summit with Kim Jong Un," the White House official said, referring to the North Korean leader whom Trump met last month in Singapore.

"He thinks he can sit down eye to eye with these guys, flatter them and make a deal."