Trump and Putin face high-stakes meeting
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.