Trump to meet Putin at G-20 summit
President Donald Trump will convene a high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit of industrial and emerging-market nations in Germany next week, the White House said yesterday, amid swirling allegations about Moscow's role in the 2016 elections.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster confirmed 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's first in-person encounter with Putin has been highly anticipated as Trump pushes back against allegations 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 Russia was behind last year's hack of the Democratic Party's email systems and tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump. Members of his campaign are also under investigation for possible collusion with Russia in the lead-up to the campaign.
Trump has staunchly denied that he had any contacts with Russia during his campaign. Russian officials have denied any meddling in the 2016 election.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian news agencies after the White House's announcement that Putin is expecting to meet with Trump in Hamburg that they "will meet at the summit in one way or another. We have said it before", he told state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.
McMaster and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn would not say whether the president intends to address accusations that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying that the agenda is "not finalised" for this or any other meeting.
"Our relationship with Russia is not different from that with any other country in terms of us communicating to them really what our concerns are, where we see problems with the relationship, but also opportunities," McMaster said.