Trump will focus on Russia's 'malign' activity at summits

08 July, 2018, 01:17 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Twitter accuses Republican senators of defiling America after spending July 4 in Moscow

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

The senior administration official stressed that while USA officials have "repeatedly" raised election meddling in meetings with Russian officials, "the fact of the matter is we have not had the kinds of conversations, direct conversations, across the table conversations about things like election meddling and malign activity that really do need to take place".

Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusion of the US intelligence community that Russian Federation meddled in the election and has dismissed the investigation into potential collusion with members of his campaign as a "witch hunt" meant to delegitimize he presidency.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin will meet alone at the summit because the president decided that this is the right time for direct communication, said Mr. Huntsman. He wrote the leaders of Denmark, Norway, Canada and Germany last month to ratchet up the pressure, saying "the United States is increasingly unwilling to ignore the European failure to meet shared security commitments".

European leaders are in a state of high anxiety about the two-day North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting, to be followed by Trump's bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

The prospect of Trump and Putin meeting alone has raised concern among members of the US national security community, some of whom have fretted that Putin, who has served as either president or prime minister since 2000, will use the meeting to gain leverage over the U.S.

The summit will follow a NATO meeting in Brussels where Russian Federation will also top the agenda, said U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison.

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Trump has expressed scorn for the alliance and is expected to upbraid European NATO members for not spending enough on their own defense.

"A change in atmosphere can change a whole lot else", the official said.

Asked about the letter, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that it was "not an isolated action" and that the wider trend of Washington lobbying for more defense spending from European allies was problematic for Moscow.

Just last week, he trumpeted a Putin talking point, tweeting: "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!"

The two ambassadors laid out a preliminary schedule for Trump's travels.

"You know, I think the fact that we're having a summit at this level, at this time in history, is a deliverable in itself", said Huntsman, adding that he "wouldn't underplay at all the importance of actually sitting down for the first time in a meeting-summit environment and discussing the issues that really matter most". In the afternoon, he will have a one-on-one meeting with Putin, followed by an expanded bilateral meeting and a working lunch before he departs for Washington.

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