Pres. Trump To Meet Friday With Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin

Friday, July 7th 2017, 3:15 am
By: News 9

President Trump is slated to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit Friday in Hamburg, Germany, marking the first time the two leaders will see each other face-to-face since Mr. Trump took office in January. 

But there won't be many witnesses to the encounter. In addition to Mr. Trump and Putin,  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will also be present, the White House confirmed to CBS News. Lavrov speaks fluent English, but both sides will have their respective translators present.  

Tillerson has the most experience in the Trump administration dealing directly with Putin. The two met in Russia in April, but seemed to agree upon little, based on their public comments. At that time, Tillerson suggested U.S.-Russia relations had reached a "low" point. Mr. Trump has spoken with Putin on the phone in past months, although White House readouts of those conversations have lacked much detail. 

The meeting comes as Mr. Trump is reluctant to say conclusively that Russians interfered in the 2016 election. On Thursday, Mr. Trump said the 2016 election meddling "could be Russia," but "nobody really knows for sure." The House Intelligence Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee and FBI are investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, and a collection of intelligence agencies concluded in a January report that Russians did meddle in the election cycle. 

But Mr. Trump's comments Thursday contrasted with recent tweets in which the president has seemed to acknowledge Russian election interference, blaming the Obama administration for doing nothing about the situation. 

Putin has denied any interference in the 2016 election, despite the ongoing investigations. 

Mr. Trump did criticize Russia briefly in a Thursday speech in Warsaw, Poland, for its "destabilizing" actions in Ukraine and other European nations. The president called on Moscow to "join the community of responsible nations."