- MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images
- In an upcoming July 16 summit, President Donald Trump plans to sit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for a one-on-one meeting before allowing other aides in, a source told CNN.
- Trump has met Putin on the sidelines of several international conferences, but have not had a formal bilateral meeting
- Experts have warned that the meeting could have potentially massive consequences, as Putin has been described as a “very disciplined negotiator” who may be able to extract major concessions from Trump.
In an upcoming July 16 summit, President Donald Trump reportedly plans to sit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for a one-on-one meeting before allowing other aides to join them.
A source familiar with the president’s plans told CNN that the meeting will take place at the start of the summit in Finland, similar to his closed-door meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un last month. Before meeting wih Kim, Trump said he would be able to gauge his chemistry with the North Korean leader “within the first minute.”
Sources told CNN that while Trump has already met the Russian president, the private meeting will allow Trump to develop the relationship between the two leaders.
Trump has met Putin on the sidelines of several international conferences, but has not held a bilateral summit with the Russian leader.
They first met Putin at the G20 summit in Germany last year, and spoke privately for over two hours accompanied only by translators, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The two reportedly had another meeting later in the evening where the two spoke for nearly an hour, with only Putin’s translator present.
Some have criticized Trump’s approach to speaking privately with world leaders – which one former official called a “threat to national security” – and have raised concerns that discussions may get lost in translation and that no formal US record may be kept.
And while Trump praised his meeting with Kim as a success, the meeting failed to implement meaningful action towards denuclearization and featured few concessions by North Korea.
A Kremlin spokesperson said Tuesday Putin would be comfortable meeting with Trump one-on-one at their summit.
A one-on-one meeting may serve Russia’s agenda
Trump’s meeting with Putin comes amid Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election escalates and days after the NATO summit. Last month, Trump exacerbated tensions with NATO partners by calling for Russia to be readmitted to the alliance.
Foreign policy experts have warned the meeting between the two heads of state could have potentially massive consequences as Putin has been described as a “very disciplined negotiator” who may be able to extract major concessions from Trump.
“The goal of this meeting really is for the two leaders to have a chance to sit down, not in the context of some larger multilateral meeting, but just the two of them, to go over what is on their mind about a whole range of issues,” national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”