5 Things To Watch For At The Trump-Putin Summit

  • Written by Zero Hedge
  • Published in Economics

Despite John McCain and the neocon's best efforts to disrupt it, his advisors (and the Democrats) warnings, and the rest of the Deep State's concerted plans with the liberal media to paint Trump into a lose-lose situation, the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki is due to start within the next hour or two.

As President Trump noted in a tweet earlier, "Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough."

As The Hill notes, Trump has long wanted a closer relationship with Putin, something he believes can mend frayed ties between their two countries. But beyond his apparent affinity for Putin, many in Washington have questioned why the president is sitting down with his Russian counterpart and what he seeks to accomplish.

Here are five things to watch for when Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki:

Election interference

Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, already at the front of observers’ minds, has rocketed to the top of the agenda ahead of Monday’s summit. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers who allegedly hacked into the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic groups. The announcement comes just days before the Helsinki summit, ramping up pressure on Trump to raise the issue with Putin. But the president has long wavered on the matter, despite the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election. Just last month, Trump tweeted that “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

Trump has repeatedly highlighted that denial — which Putin made during their first face-to-face meeting at last year’s group of Group of 20 summit — as a way of downplaying the issue. “President Trump is now the outlier in his own administration, seemingly,” said a former Trump transition official. The president has promised multiple times to press Putin on election interference, saying Friday he would “absolutely firmly ask the question” when they meet. Trump has expressed a belief, however, there is not much he can do to deter their activity. “I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me.’ There won’t be a Perry Mason here,” Trump said at a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

National security figures with ties to the White House hope Trump publicly warns Putin against interfering in the midterms and threatens the Russian leader with consequences.

But the worst-case scenario they fear is Trump remaining silent on the issue and raising the possibility of lifting sanctions on Moscow, something that would fuel criticism from political opponents who believe he is too close to Putin.

Democrats in Congress have called on Trump to cancel the summit entirely in response to the indictment, but there is no sign Trump is interested in doing so....

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