Newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda dismissed the U.S. investigation into Trump’s “mythical work for the Kremlin,” and praised Trump for meeting Putin “despite opposition from his own elite and the hysterics of the media.”

Panelists on popular Sunday night talk show “Vecher,” or “Evening,” said Putin goes into Monday’s summit in Helsinki as the clearly stronger figure, notably coming off his hosting of the World Cup.

Universally sympathetic to Trump, they described him as hobbled by domestic political challenges — a problem Putin doesn’t face after 18 years of stifling political opposition — and by special investigator Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian election interference.