White House Announces Donald Trump Will Meet With Vladimir Putin In Helsinki On July 16
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are scheduled to hold their first official summit in Helsinki on July 16, according to the White House.
U.S. national security adviser, John Bolton, met with Putin in Moscow and the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections is expected to be on the agenda.
According to The Guardian, U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control and security concerns will also be among the topics the two leaders will discuss.
While all the U.S. intelligent agencies conclude that Russia meddled in the elections, Trump made his position clear ahead of the meeting.
On Twitter, the president raised questions against his intelligent agencies with accusations of corruption and calls for Hillary Clinton’s ties to Russia to be investigated.
“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election! Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!”
The upcoming summit will be the third meeting between the two leaders but the first formal summit. The last time they met, President Trump said he took Putin’s word that Russia didn’t meddle in the U.S. elections.
Trump and Putin’s first meeting in Hamburg G7 last year ended in controversy. At the dinner, the two leaders had an undisclosed, hour-long meeting with only a Russian translator present.
— The Hill (@thehill) June 28, 2018
Trump is expected to discuss Ukraine and Syria conflicts as well as economic sanctions at the Helsinki summit. Many commentators expect the summit to be a symbolic affair similar to the Singapore meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un.
Putin pointed out the U.S.-Russia relations are not their best after meeting with John Bolton.
While Trump seemingly cast doubts on Russia meddling in the election process, officials in his administration have pushed back.
Bolton, who has accused Russia of being untrustworthy in the past, said in Moscow that the optics of a meeting between the two leaders do not connect the Trump campaign to the Russian meddling scandal.
“I think a lot of people have said or implied over time that a meeting between President Trump and President Putin somehow proves some nexus between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, which is complete nonsense.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN during an interview that Trump takes election meddling seriously.
“Make no mistake, President Trump agrees Russia interfering in our election is something they simply cannot do. I don’t think he would take any umbrage with that.”
Trump’s public comment on the Russian interference seems to contradict Pompeo’s assertion.