Don and Vlad exchanging pleasantries in person — what could possibly go wrong?
President Trump is reportedly actively planning for a summit before the November election with Russian leader Vladimir Putin — even as American intelligence reports Russia is mounting a major campaign to interfere in the November vote.
The goal would be to finalize arms control agreements and burnish Trump’s image as a respected global statesman, NBC News reported, quoting four people familiar with the plans.
“He wants it to show his deal-maker abilities,” a White House official said. “It’s just a big stage.”
Trump is feeling the diplomatic vapors after his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, last week brokered a breakthrough agreement establishing full relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
But a summit with Putin so close to Election Day is sure to raise eyebrows.
U.S. intelligence says Putin has ordered Russia to conduct a broad new disinformation campaign aimed at trashing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and boosting Trump’s reelection effort.
That would amount to a rerun of Russia’s successful 2016 interference campaign in which it dangled dirt on Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign in hopes of landing a friend in the White House.
Trump has openly said that he believes Putin’s “strong” denials over the reports of American intelligence.
Even though Trump regularly talks to Putin, he has refused to say whether he has ever asked him to halt the interference campaign, or even brought up the subject.
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