Trump and Putin to Meet Briefly in Paris This Weekend
WASHINGTON — President Trump will meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia this weekend after all, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, but they will make it an abbreviated discussion in deference to their French hosts and hold off more detailed talks until another meeting later in the month.
The on-again, off-again, on-again meeting will come just days after Democrats seized control of the House in midterm elections and vowed to reopen the chamber’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and any ties with Mr. Trump’s campaign. An inquiry on the same subjects by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, continues.
It will be the first meeting between the American and Russian presidents since they got together in Helsinki in July — and Mr. Trump, with Mr. Putin at his side, publicly challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the election. After bipartisan condemnation back home, Mr. Trump said he misspoke and did not mean to undercut the agencies’ conclusion.
Mr. Trump has sought for weeks to sit down again with Mr. Putin and at one point sent his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, to arrange for a meeting in Paris this weekend when both leaders will attend an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. But earlier this week, the two sides appeared to call off the meeting, saying they would wait to get together until another international summit meeting in Buenos Aires later in November.
The French had asked the Americans and Russians not to hold the meeting this weekend for fear that it would overshadow their event.
“The French partners actively brought their concerns to the Russian and U.S. sides and, with these considerations in mind, Washington and Moscow decided against holding a full-scale meeting of the presidents,” Yuri Ushakov, Mr. Putin’s foreign policy adviser, told reporters in Moscow.
But Mr. Ushakov said Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump will meet during a lunch on Sunday and then have “a more detailed conversation” in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the Group of 20, or G20, meeting, according to Bloomberg. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Neither side has made clear what it hopes to achieve. The two are at odds over a number of issues, including Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, its support for Syria’s government, the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil and the fate of a 1980s arms control treaty that Mr. Trump has threatened to pull out of.
Just this week, the Trump administration said it was preparing to impose new sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of the former spy, Sergei V. Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, after Moscow failed to meet a 90-day deadline to comply with an American law on preventing the use of chemical weapons.
For all the tension between the two countries, Mr. Trump has made it a priority to establish friendly personal relations with Mr. Putin. Russian officials have said they want direct conversations between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump to circumvent what they see as a deep-state cabal surrounding the American president that is trying to sabotage his efforts to foster closer ties between the two countries.
Follow Peter Baker on Twitter: @peterbakernyt.
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