Donald Trump is meeting Vladimir Putin in Vietnam tomorrow, and it is raising a lot of eyebrows.
Moscow Times had reported the Russian foreign minister confirming that a meeting was being planned between Trump and Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, on November 10, which was later confirmed by the Independent.
“President Putin is ready for this, the Americans know,” Sergei Lavrov said.
The reasons for skepticism about the purported meaning of the meeting are aplenty. While Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there is no “agreed agenda” for the meeting, it comes at a time when the Trump campaign and administration are knee-deep in a probe about potential collusion with Russia to influence last year’s elections. Trump’s former campaign manager and security adviser have both already been indicted, while Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is reported to be one of the targets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Michael Flynn is almost certain to be indicted. Mueller’s team has reinforced the notion that the investigation is far from done, while media outlets continue to speculate whether Donald Trump Jr. — and even the president himself — is also a target. Trump is particularly wary of Mueller scrutinizing his personal finances over the last several decades, something the president doesn’t want anyone to do (remember Comey).
Furthermore, the timely Paradise Papers leaks, which show that Kushner’s associate Yuri Milner invested millions of dollars into Twitter and Facebook through Kremlin-funded institutions, coupled with Trump adviser Carter Page’s testimony to the Senate in which he admitted that he traveled to Russia during last year’s campaign for a speaking engagement and even encouraged Donald Trump to do so, raises a lot of suspicions about the real reason behind Trump’s meeting with Putin in Vietnam. Even the Kremlin has stated that the meeting does not have an agenda as of now, so are we to assume that Mueller’s investigation will consume most of the time in their tete-a-tete?
The timing of the interview, and the way it has hastily come about, definitely raises a lot of questions. Up until last week, there were no indications that Donald Trump would be meeting Vladimir Putin during his Asia tour, so how is it that with Mueller’s probe intensifying, the president is again reaching out a needy hand to the Kremlin?
We might not have an answer immediately, but as the heat on Trump seems to be growing back home, it seems increasingly likely that he is turning to the one person whose friendship might be most detrimental to his chances of staying at the White House.
[Featured Image by BPA via Getty Images]