Trump, Putin pre­pare to meet with­out set agenda

The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - By Josh Lederman and Matthew Lee

WASH­ING­TON» Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s first face-to-face meet­ing with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on Fri­day will be brim­ming with global in­trigue, but the White House says there’s “no spe­cific agenda.” So in the ab­sence of a set list of top­ics, what are two of the world’s most fa­mously un­pre­dictable lead­ers to dis­cuss?

Trump, who prefers to have neatly pack­aged achieve­ments to pair with high-pro­file meet­ings, may be look­ing for some con­ces­sions from Rus­sia to show he’s de­liv­er­ing progress and help­ing re­store a pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two pow­ers. Putin would al­most surely want some­thing in re­turn, and there’s a long list of “ir­ri­tants” be­tween the two coun­tries that they could po­ten­tially re­solve.

Ahead of the bi­lat­eral meet­ing, White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and State Depart­ment of­fi­cials have been re­view­ing pos­si­ble ges­tures the U.S. could of­fer Rus­sia, a cur­rent and a for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said. They weren’t au­tho­rized to com­ment pub­licly and re­quested anonymity.

Yet any out­ward sign of bon­homie be­tween Trump and Putin would be im­me­di­ately seized upon by the pres­i­dent’s crit­ics and Rus­sia hawks ea­ger to show he’s cozy­ing up to the Rus­sian leader. The on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sia’s in­ter­fer­ence in the U.S. elec­tion and po­ten­tial Trump cam­paign col­lu­sion won’t be far from any­one’s minds.

The two lead­ers will sit down in Ger­many, on the side­lines of a Group of 20 sum­mit of lead­ing rich and de­vel­op­ing na­tions.

Elec­tion hack­ing: Trump has been re­luc­tant to pub­licly and di­rectly ac­knowl­edge Rus­sia’s role in med­dling in the U.S. elec­tion, out of ap­par­ent con­cern it un­der­mines the le­git­i­macy of his win. He’s also in­sisted there was no col­lu­sion with him or his cam­paign, a con­clu­sion that U.S. in­ves­ti­ga­tors have not yet reached.


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