US President Donald Trump has asked his staff to tee up a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Washington D.C., just a couple of days after Trump’s historic flip-flop on whether he believed Russia actually interfered with the 2016 election.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the announcement via Twitter, saying National Security Advisor John Bolton was asked to organise the event after the leaders’ secretive Helsinki summit.
In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Trump asked @Ambjohnbolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.
— Kayleigh McEnany 45 Archived (@PressSec45) July 19, 2018
The announcement heralds an unprecedented coziness between the two leaders, in spite of the ongoing FBI investigation into election meddling by the Russian government.
It also seems to follow the White House’s stated goal of warming relations with Russia in order to work together on some massive goals: denuclearisation, the fight against terrorism, that sort of deal.
But that proposed meeting would kick up some serious security challenges, especially for those who believe Russia is still very, very actively trying to undermine the United States with all kinds of dodgy actions.
FWIW, the American intelligence community maintains Russia was absolutely involved in election meddling, and just moments before receiving the news that Trump signalled his desire to meet with Putin in Washington D.C., National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said Russia’s interference in American democracy is “ongoing”.
The proposed meeting is still in its embryonic stages, but you can expect to hear a lot more about it in the weeks to come.