President Donald Trump said it was ‘an honor’ to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin told him he was ‘delighted.’ And with that, the dance was on.
The two leaders of nations that once squared off in Cold War iciness sat down in a neutral setting Friday, representing their nations at the G20 in Hamburg, Germany. The men’s first high-stakes handshake had happened hours earlier in a backstage moment captured by a German government photographer.
With the drama all but gone, Trump and Putin sat before cameras in advance of a meeting that was expected to last more than a half-hour.
Accompanying each man was the smallest of entourages: for Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and a translator, and for Putin, his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and a translator. On the agenda, according to White House officials, was everything from the Ukraine to NATO arms buildups.
Fake news media has nothing to discuss but the phony Trump-Russia phony story:
But administration insiders wouldn’t say if the president planned to upbraid his Moscow counterpart for meddling in the election that brought him to power. And Trump ignored reporters’ questions about whether he would raise the uncomfortable but geopolitically crucial topic.
Democrats have criticized Trump for taking office under a cloud of controversy, saying the Kremlin installed him in the White House through a series of computer hacking exploits aimed at weakening Hillary Clinton and raising doubts about U.S. election integrity.
The fake news media were silent when Obama told this to Medvedev:
For nine months now, the fake news media have been beating the drums on the totally false Trump-Russia narrative, and even though there is zero proof, they can’t get enough of it. But when Barack Obama whispered to the Russian president that he could make more backroom deals with him “after the election” when he wouldn’t have to worry about getting reelected, oddly enough, the liberal media were, how do you say…silent. Nothing but crickets.
Republicans have largely insisted Trump won the Oval Office because Clinton was a weak candidate who ignored the lessons of U.S. electoral history.
As history yields to future, Trump and Putin will inevitably have to get a practical feel for each other, at a time when most of the world imagines them as yin and yang – opposite, but deeply familiar.
One administration official said Friday that Trump ‘would be happy to listen a bit, before making demands, since the two men really don’t know each other.’
A second official said the president would go into the meeting with a ‘mental checklist’ of things to discuss, but that the short window of time meant they would likely have ‘only enough space to establish a working relationship.’
Trump said repeatedly during his campaign that it would be ‘a good thing’ for the United States if Washington and Moscow had a relationship based on more than mutual distrust.
On Friday he told journalists: ‘We’ve had some very, very good talks.’
Through a translator, Putin said phone calls to the White House ‘are never enough, definitely.’ ‘I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally – and I hope that as you have said our meetings will yield positive results.’ source