OSAKA, Japan – Since Donald Trump's first official term, Russia has been on the brink of his presidency, but every time he has had the opportunity to dispel people's doubts, Trump does the opposite.
During a telephone conversation in the March 2018 Trump congratulated Putin on his re-election, despite unrestrained allegations of fraud and even the warning of his own adjutants: "DO NOT CONGRATE." Several at a gathering of world leaders Months later, Trump reportedly said that the controversial region of Crimea in Ukraine is Russian, d Despite the condemnation of his own government because of the annexation of the area by Moscow. And at a summit meeting in Helsinki the following month, Trump seemed to accept Putin's rejection of elections, even though the US intelligence services came to the conclusion that Putin himself had staged the interference campaign.
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On Friday, Trump added to the conference list.
At his first meeting with Putin since the completion of Russia's investigation by Robert Müller, Trump has used solid evidence of a "comprehensive and systematic" campaign by Russia as an opportunity to disrupt the election in favor of Trump.
After He Was Asked by a reporter if he would talk to Putin about voting problems – a topic he did not mention himself, Trump replied, "Yes, of course I will."
But he did not stop here , He turned to Putin and sat next to him, smiling and pointing with his finger in the direction of the Russian president. He jokingly said, "Do not get involved in elections, President, do not get involved in the elections." After hearing the translation, Putin laughed while Trump grinned.
The episode at the G-20 conference, an annual gathering of the world's 20 largest economies, will not mitigate the long-held notion that Trump is too friendly towards Russia has alerted Democrats and Republicans alike and led to investigations into Congress led.
But it could have been expected, according to his current and former advisers. Trump often balks when told what to say or do, they say. When urged, the President simply ridicules what is expected of him, even when it comes to Russia.
And every time he refuses to adapt to expected behavior towards Russia, a firestorm is triggered in Washington. But Trump's advisers do not believe that the controversies have hurt him politically. Instead, they believe that his strategy to brand all investigations into his relationship with Russia as a "false witch hunt" organized by Democrats and the media has helped to defuse the problem outside the country's capital.
It is unclear whether Trump Putin has actually pushed further electoral influence when the two leaders met on Friday. In a reading of the White House of the meeting, the topic was not mentioned, although the two discussed points of friction such as Iran, Syria and Venezuela. "Both leaders agreed that improving relations between the US and Russia is in the mutual interest of the world," reads the White House statement.
Before leaving Washington, Trump refused to tell reporters from the White House what, if anything, he would tell Putin about electoral failures. "What I tell him is none of your business," Trump urged as he was asked about the meeting.
"Whenever President Trump and President Putin meet, there is a very strong domestic backlash after this meeting," said Heather Conley. who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State during George W. Bush's administration and is now Senior Vice President at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. "But it's partly because there is a lack of complete transparency on the topics to be discussed and the agenda."
In the past, some of the meetings between the two leaders took place without US assistants or interpreters. alarming critics worried about what Trump Putin could promise behind closed doors. Members of delegations from both countries took part in the meeting on Friday, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the daughter and son-in-law of the President, both of whom serve as senior advisors.
Before the meeting, a senior government official described the conversation as a "normal event" focused on improving bilateral relations. "Regarding the message to Putin, I think the President's message about electoral interference is known and he will repeat it," the official said.
But Trump's public comments on the subject were obscure. Just two weeks ago, Trump said in an interview that he would listen when a foreign source offered him information about a 2020 election opponent and might not report the overture to the FBI. Later, he tried to force the statement back.
Although Trump appears to be reluctant to criticize Putin, his government has repeatedly criticized Russia for sanctions for electoral disruptions and aggression in Ukraine.
But Trump's bonhomie towards Putin has continued into the G-20 summit. When he left for this event, Trump had blown up the host circles of Japan and India over trade, but said nothing about Russia. And when world leaders posed for a photo at the rally, Trump went to Putin and chatted with him, patting him gently on the back as the two paths separated on stage.
The feelings between the two heads of state and government seem to be mutually exclusive. In an interview with the Financial Times this week, Putin Trump – whom he called "Donald" – described as "a talented person" who "knows very well what his constituents expect from him."
Trump canceled meeting with Putin At the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in 2018, after Russia had occupied three Ukrainian ships with dozens of sailors, Trump said a meeting would not take place until the situation was resolved] "He has said several times that in the first two years of the Russia investigation he was prevented from working more closely with Putin," said Thomas Wright, geopolitics expert at the left-liberal Brookings Institution The first meeting with Putin since the Müller report. So if his own comments are correct, we can expect him to try to open a deeper period of cooperation with Putin.