Just the Facts

Five Facts on the Trump-Putin Summit

By No Labels
July 16, 2018 | Blog

On Monday, American President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland for a historic summit between the two leaders.  The meetings came at a tumultuous time for relations between the two countries.  Last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  Here are five facts on the Trump-Putin summit.

Helsinki has a history of hosting summits between the United States and Russia

Finland held a neutral political stance during the Cold War and maintains a positive relationship with both the U.S. and Russia.  Former U.S. and Soviet leaders met in Finland on several occasions throughout the Cold War, holding conferences in 1975, 1988, and 1990.  In addition, Helsinki is a geographically convenient location for both leaders – Trump was previously in the U.K. visiting with Prime Minister Theresa May while Putin was in Moscow for the World Cup final. After meeting one-on-one in the Presidential Palace, Trump and Putin attended a bilateral meeting and working lunch with some of their closest aides. The press conference that followed was the first between an American and Russian leader in nearly a decade.

The summit comes on the heels of Mueller’s recent indictment of 12 Russian officers for election interference

According to the indictment the officers worked for the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a Russian military agency.  They are now being charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money. The Trump-Putin meeting also comes just after the recent NATO summit, where world leaders signed an agreement that included tough language aimed at Russia and its annexation of Crimea.

At present, few details are known about what President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump discussed in their one-on-one meeting

Besides the two leaders, only their translators were present for talks discussing Russian involvement in United States elections, violence in Syria, and the fortification of U.S.-Russia relations. In the coming hours, the translator in that room will be debriefed by U.S. officials to gain more insight into the details of this discussion. Following their joint press conference, Putin stated his meeting with Trump was “really very informative and useful.”

During Monday’s summit President Trump refused to publicly acknowledge American intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election

Before the summit, American Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman had said, “I think the bigger picture is we need to hold the Russians accountable for what they did [in the 2016 election].” However, when asked if he believed the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election, President Trump cited President Putin’s strong denial and seemed to agree, stating “I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia].”

President Trump’s press conference with President Putin received immediate reactions from politicians in both parties

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) reacted by stating, “There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues to attempt to undermine democracy here and around the world… The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable.” Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated that it was “thoughtless, dangerous, and weak” for President Trump “to side with President Putin against American law enforcement, American defense officials, and American intelligence agencies.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released perhaps the most blunt statement, calling the summit “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American President in memory.”

 

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