United States suggests hosting new Trump-Putin meeting in Washington in late 2018

Thursday, 26 Jul, 2018

Trump has not hidden his disdain for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, regularly referring to it in public comments and on Twitter as a "witch hunt".

Trump has been widely attacked after his Helsinki meeting with Putin, due to his reconciliatory remarks that many saw as a sign to side with Moscow against USA intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 US elections.

But the most logical explanation is that like many Americans, they figure a quick second summit with Putin on USA soil would be the wrong big foreign-policy move for Trump, particularly if it happens right before the midterm elections.

On Tuesday, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told reporters that Trump and Putin may just meet on the sidelines of the G20 in Argentina in November.

Russian officials had said they might be open to Trump and Putin meeting on the sidelines of an global summit such as the G-20, but they had not committed to a trip to Washington, D.C.

The question from Reuters reporter Jeff Mason to Putin - "Did you want President Trump to win the election?" - was omitted from the initial version.

The White House said last week that Trump has asked Bolton to invite the Russian president to Washington in autumn, and that the relative discussions "are already underway".

Ushakov told journalists in Moscow that no preparations were underway for a meeting in Washington and there were "other options that our leaders could consider", such as the late November meeting of the Group of 20 in Argentina or another worldwide event that both would attend. "Putin and Trump may also meet at other global forums they will participate in, such possibilities will surely be discussed", he said. And overall, 37 percent of USA adults think Russia's meddling transformed the 2016 election results.

Trump, who goes back and forth about what he accepts about the years-long campaign of "active measures" against the West, now says the cyberattacks, online agitation and other techniques could be turned against him and Republicans in the 2018 congressional races.

While Democrats, predictably, feel strongly about the issue (82 percent say Trump hasn't been tough enough), nearly half of Republicans say the president hasn't been tough enough on Russian Federation (47 percent), with 2 in 10 saying he's been about right, and a quarter who aren't sure (one of the highest "unsure" numbers among subgroups). He said Trump made clear to Putin that the so-called Minsk Accords to settle the Ukraine conflict is the right path forward. Putin described the first summit as "successful" and accused unnamed "forces" within the U.S. of preventing an improvement in U.S. -Russia relations.

He also urged senators to consider the policies Trump has adopted toward Russian Federation, apart from his rhetoric about the attack on the election.

That was followed by seven days of non-stop flip-flopping over whether he believed Russian Federation had meddled in the 2016 United States elections, after his intelligence agencies confirmed it.

Instead, anger about what some US lawmakers saw as a too-deferential performance by Trump in Helsinki and his failure to publicly confront Putin over Moscow's alleged meddling in USA politics may have made things worse.