Trump-Putin Summit Set For Helsinki, Finland On July 16
(CBS News) — President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to meet on July 16 in Helsinki where the leaders are expected to discuss national security issues as well as the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Moscow and Washington confirmed the location and date of the summit in coordinated statements released Thursday morning.
“President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation will meet on July 16, 2018, in Helsinki, Finland. The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues,” the White House statement said.
CBS News’ Mark Knoller reports that this will be the latest in a series of presidential visits to Helsinki for diplomatic talks with their Russian counterparts. Helsinki was the backdrop for President Gerald Ford’s meeting with Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev in 1975, President George H.W. Bush’s meeting with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 and President Bill Clinton’s summit with President Boris Yeltsin in 1997.
Knoller adds that the Helsinki summit will be Mr. Trump’s 3rd set of meetings with Putin. They met previously at the G20 in Hamburg in July 2017 and at the APEC Summit in Da Nang, in November 2017.
National Security Adviser John Bolton met in Moscow on Wednesday with the Russian delegation to begin groundwork for the meeting, which a Putin aide confirmed would take place mid-day and last “several hours.”
In addition to a one-on-one meeting, there may also be a protocol event, a working breakfast and joint news conference, Putin aide Yuri Ushakov said after meetings between Bolton and Russian officials.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Bolton attempted to dispel concerns over the president meeting with Putin, who is at the heart of ongoing probes into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“I don’t think it’s unusual for President Trump and President Putin to meet,” Bolton told reporters in Moscow. He added, “President Trump believes so strongly that it was time to have this kind of meeting and as you can see, President Putin agreed.”
The Kremlin, meanwhile, continues to claim that the Russian government played no role in the election. “It was stated clearly by our side that the Russian state hasn’t interfered with the U.S. domestic politics, moreover hasn’t interfered in the 2016 election,” Ushakov said. On Thursday before news of the summit’s location, Mr. Trump backed up that claim, tweeting that Russia was not involved.
The president’s claim comes amid numerous accounts by U.S. intelligence officials over the past year that while there’s no clear evidence they changed the outcome, Russia had a hand in interfering in the election process by sowing national discord in the United States during the lead-up to the election.
After the meeting, Putin and Mr. Trump may adopt a joint statement on international security issues, including “improving bilateral relations, both in terms of joint actions in the international arena and in terms of ensuring international stability and security,” Ushakov said.
Bolton however said that he didn’t expect “specific outcomes or decisions” from the meeting.
This is a developing story.
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