President Trump wouldn't single out Russia as security threat when asked Monday during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
In response to a question about Russia posed by a Finnish reporter, Trump said, "I consider many countries as a security threat, unfortunately, when you look at what's going on in the world today."
The answer came the same day it was reported that longtime Trump business associate Michael Cohen sought to solicit Russian President Vladimir Putin's help on a stalled Moscow Trump Tower project while his boss was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
Since winning the presidency, Trump has been criticized for seeming hesitant to criticize Russia or Putin despite Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. The Trump administration has broken with Moscow on some foreign policy issues, especially in Syria and Venezuela.
Trump also triggered a backlash when he responded to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left one dead by blaming "many sides" for the violence.
Finland borders Russia. The question came in the context of Baltic tensions and Trump reaffirmed that the United States is "very protective of that region."
Despite the persistent questions Trump and his allies have faced on Russia since last year's campaign, now the subject of multiple congressional investigations and a probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller, the president has said repeatedly he would like to improve relations with Moscow.
"I hope that we do have good relations with Russia," Trump said again Monday. "I say it loud and clear, I have been saying it for years. I think it's a good thing if we have great relationships, or at least good relationships, with Russia."
Niinistö and Trump met in Washington, D.C. before speaking to reporters.