Trump and his pal Vladimir Putin—who may have meddled in the 2016 election, but, then again, who really knows (besides the entire U.S. intelligence community)—had a closed-door meeting today at the G20 summit. Given Trump’s slight deviation from the script in Poland yesterday—he called for Russia to “cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine”—many journalists were very interested in what the meeting might hold. Here’s a clip of the two men speaking publicly before their closed-door talks.
When Trump met Putin: "We look forward to a lot of very positive things… It's an honour to be with you." #G20pic.twitter.com/mlnQcIjUVj— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 7, 2017
According to the NYTimes Trump’s camp—leery of even more leaks—wisely demanded that only six people attend the meeting: Mr. Trump and his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson; Mr. Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov; and two interpreters. Russia had wanted more, but Trump’s people didn’t want too many competing stories of how the discussions between them went.
It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes from their little powwow. Trump—for those just waking up from a year-long slumber—and many members of his administration have been embroiled in investigations as to their potentially illegal ties to Russia. Putin, for his part, has played up these connections and seems to be enjoying all of the turmoil spilling from the administrations scandals. Because of these allegations, Trump’s camp is aware that the president will need to tread lightly in discussions so as to not come off too buddy-buddy with the Russian. And indeed, the two leaders are opposed on many issues including: climate change, western sanctions on Russia after the Crimea annexation and the new missile defense system being built in Eastern Europe. They don’t even fully agree on how to go about counter terrorism.
Hopefully some good can come of their meeting, but we won’t hold our breath.