Donald Trump is looking to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin once more before the presidential election in November, a new report claims.
The report from NBC News said that Trump has told aides that he would like to meet with Russia's leader once more in the coming weeks. The report, citing four people familiar with the discussions, said that officials have begun looking into possible dates for the event, which could potentially take place in New York next month.
The meeting would aim to cover a new nuclear arms control agreement between the two nations, with the leaders potentially signing a blueprint for negotiations on an extension of the New START treaty that is set to expire next year, the report claimed.
With less than three months remaining until the presidential election, the meeting could serve a larger political purpose for Trump as well, sources told NBC News. The president reportedly sees the meet as a chance to show himself as a strong negotiator, a quality he stressed during his 2016 presidential campaign.
"He wants it to show his deal-maker abilities," an aide told the outlet. "It's just a big stage."
The report of plans for an in-person meet earned a bit of pushback from the Trump administration, with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien saying during an appearance on Meet the Press that there are no plans to host Putin in the U.S.
"We're not doing a meeting with Putin in the United States, but at some time we'd love to have Putin come here to sign a terrific arms control deal that protects Americans and protects Russians," he said.
Trump has been criticized for his relationship with Putin, with critics saying he has failed to push back against Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and the country's alleged goal of helping Trump to win.
As The Inquisitr reported, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff has called out Trump for doing nothing to deter Russia from interfering again in the 2020 race.
"Donald Trump has clearly not deterred the Russians from engaging. They're at it again," Schiff said during an appearance on MSNBC. "If anything, I think that the sum total of the president's words and actions is to encourage the Russians to help him, but if we call them out on it, if we hold them accountable, then we can nonetheless provide a deterrent."
Trump has also been criticized for the precautions taken to keep some of these in-person meetings secret. As USA Today reported last year, he took what were seen as extraordinary measures to keep the subject of these meetings secret, even from some top members of his own administration.