Trump and Putin face high-stakes meet­ing

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Meet­ing face-to-face with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s “Amer­ica First” pol­icy will be put to the test if he opts to con­front Rus­sia over in­tel­li­gence that Moscow med­dled in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser HR McMaster said Thurs­day that Trump will meet with Putin along the side­lines of the an­nual Group of 20 meet­ing in Ham­burg, Ger­many, part of an itin­er­ary that will in­clude meet­ings with sev­eral world lead­ers.

Trump will face the chal­lenge of work­ing with Rus­sia to­ward com­mon goals in Syria and Ukraine, while also po­ten­tially broach­ing al­le­ga­tions about Moscow’s in­ter­fer­ences in the US elec­tions and ac­cu­sa­tions that some of his as­so­ci­ates may have had con­tact with Rus­sian of­fi­cials dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign and the tran­si­tion. All 17 US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have agreed that Rus­sia was be­hind last year’s hack of the Demo­cratic Party’s email sys­tems and tried to in­flu­ence the 2016 elec­tion to ben­e­fit Trump. Trump will be un­der pres­sure to side with the US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies and press Putin on the is­sue of elec­tion med­dling, some­thing he has thus far been re­luc­tant to do.

Trump’s prom­ise of closer co­op­er­a­tion with Rus­sia has prompted con­cerns that the US will have di­min­ished lever­age over global is­sues and he could be more sym­pa­thetic to Rus­sia.

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