Trump-Putin meet set for July
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet in July during the president's trip to Europe, according to sources in the administration.
Two possibilities for the meeting are either before the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11 or after Trump’s visit to Britain on July 13, one of the people said. Both people asked for anonymity to discuss the plans, because they aren’t final.
The White House declined to comment on Wednesday evening. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on a conference call with reporters on Thursday, in which he also said that the Kremlin expects U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton to visit Russia. Bolton may visit Moscow next week to discuss preparations for the summit, the Interfax news service reported, citing people in Washington it didn’t identify.
Trump had two meetings with Putin last summer at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
The president has shown keen interest in restoring Putin’s place in the international community. At the G-7 summit in Quebec earlier this month, he proposed that Russia should be re-admitted to the Group of Eight countries, which was reduced to a Group of Seven following Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
You can almost hear the left rehearsing their Trump-Russia collusion lines prior to such a meeting. Every word, every gesture uttered by Trump will be "proof" that Putin owns him. It would be tiresome and faintly ridiculous if they weren't absolutely dead serious about it.
The left thinks the president of the United States is guilty of treason. This despite the fact that special counsel Mueller keeps insisting the president is not a target of his collusion investigation. But it is a useful fiction to maintain because it sows doubts about Trump that may yet yield votes in November.
As for Putin, he has been chafing at the administration's efforts to curtail his ambitions in Ukraine and eastern Europe and appears to be as sick as Trump is hearing about how his government's cyber efforts swung the election to Trump. There will be tension between the two leaders -- not because of collusion but because the geopolitical ambitions of Putin conflict in some areas with US interests.
But the open speculation about Trump being in Putin's pocket will lend a ludicrous tinge to the media event surrounding the summit.