Trump's one-on-one talks with Putin to include election meddling, ambassador says

Marsha Scott
July 8, 2018

It will be the first formal summit between the two leaders, although they've met twice before.

Huntsman said the president will bring up an array of malign activity in which Russian Federation has been engaged, including meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Huntsman's description of Russia's "malign" activities was far sharper than those expressed by Trump, who has indicated his admiration for Putin and said that he takes Putin at his word in denying election meddling.

Huntsman said Trump would address the election interference in his conversations with Putin, along with a range of other national security issues, including Russia's annexation of Crimea and its efforts in Syria. Many NATO states, particularly along the eastern border with Russian Federation, have become increasingly alarmed about recent aggressive moves by Russia's military.

President Trump plans to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin on Moscow's malign activity around the globe, including election-meddling, when the two leaders meet for a high-stakes summit next week, top administration officials said Thursday. The president has long spoken disdainfully of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other multilateral institutions, including the European Union, and has been especially critical of Germany for not spending a bigger portion of its own budget on defense. For an alliance based on solidarity, disunity is precisely the wrong message Trump should be taking to his meeting this month with the cunning Putin in Helsinki.

Administration officials have also said that subjects discussed with Putin would include Syria, where the administration is looking for a political settlement that would allow the withdrawal of US troops there.

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He added that Trump hopes the meeting "can help reduce tensions and lead to constructive engagement that improves peace and security around the world because you can't solve problems if you're not talking about them", but said: "the ball really is in Russia's court".

On the issue of arms control, the official said the U.S. intends to raise Russian violations of the INF arms treaty during the meeting and discuss the fate of arms control agreements between the two countries.

Other than with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump has no other bilateral meetings now scheduled.

Given the president's reported desire to explore pulling USA troops from Germany, one administration official said "there is nothing being said at all about the troop alignment in Germany or anything that would change the 32,00 troop force we have in Germany".

The summit also will include a bilateral meeting and a working lunch between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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