In what is sure to be a closely watched event, President Trump will have his first official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. Announced by a Russian official Tuesday, and later confirmed by the White House, the meeting will take place as the leaders attend the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, reports CBS News. Although CBS has noted that Trump would like the encounter to be accompanied by "full diplomatic bells and whistles," not everyone in his administration agrees. What to expect:
- "It is planned as a fully fledged, 'seated' meeting," as opposed to an informal one, a Kremlin rep says. Typically, such a meeting "includes a handshake and brief public remarks" in front of the press, reports CNN.
- The White House says no agenda has been set, but it's not expected that any discussion of Russian meddling in the 2016 election will take place. Administration officials tell CNN that Trump will instead focus on Syria and Ukraine.
- That could be a wrong move that will "give fuel to Trump's critics who say he's blatantly ignoring a major national security threat," reports Time, which also lists possible demands that could come up.
- Russia, for example, may demand the return of two compounds in Maryland and New York. Speaking on the topic Monday, per the AP, Putin's foreign affairs adviser noted that Moscow, whose patience "has its limits," will be forced to retaliate if the seized properties aren't handed over soon.
- At the Washington Post, Michael McFaul, who served on the National Security Council under President Obama, says Trump should aim to appear as "a tough negotiator" who "is not willing to offer concessions simply to win Putin's praise." He offers other advice for Trump, too.
- It's not just the topics of discussion, but the meeting itself, that's an issue for some. CBS reports State Department and National Security Council officials believe Trump should keep Putin at a distance. Reuters notes the "pressure" on Trump, as well as the complexity of the situation. "Trump is like a horse with his front legs tied," a German diplomat says. "He can't make any big leaps forward on Russia. If he tried, people would immediately suspect it was all part of some big conspiracy."
- Trump may be keen on the meeting, but he'll likely be less keen on the protesters. Foreign Policy reports both Trump and Putin are expected to draw angry crowds in Hamburg.
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