Trump’s administration is worried about how he’ll handle his second foreign trip, which begins today, Raw Story reports.
Trump is heading to Hamburg, Germany for a G20 meeting. He’s expected to have a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
The New York Times wrote that Trump’s team is prepping him for the Putin meeting, but is afraid it will end up looking better for Putin than Trump.
“There’s a fair amount of nervousness in the White House and at the State Department about this meeting and how they manage it because they see a lot of potential risks,” said former ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer, who has also worked for the National Security Council and State Department. “There is this gray cloud for the president of the investigations about collusion, so any kind of a deal is going to get the micro-scrutiny of, ‘Is this a giveaway to the Russians?’”
Trump believes he can handle the meeting with Putin.
“Mr. Trump himself is not troubled by the meeting. He has told aides he is more annoyed by the prospect of being scolded by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and other leaders for pulling out of the Paris climate accords and for his hard line on immigration,” Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Glenn Thrush wrote for the Times.
Trump aides said he’ll bring up Russian meddling in the 2016 election to Putin, but isn’t expected to make a big thing out of it, choosing to focus on Syria. Yesterday the administration said the Putin/Trump meeting will be a “formal bilateral discussion, rather than the quick pull-aside at the economic summit meeting that some had expected.”
“Mr. Trump’s aides are seeking structure and predictability. They hope that a formal meeting, with aides present and an agenda, will leave less room for improvisation and relegate Russia’s meddling in the campaign to a secondary topic, behind more pressing policy concerns that the president is eager to address,” wrote Davis and Thrush.
Trump has been warned by the opposition about the meeting:
“Let’s be clear: The Russians interfered in our election and helped elect Donald Trump president. There is a serious, ongoing criminal investigation into this matter. And President Trump must refrain from any unilateral concessions to Russia,” Democratic Sen. Jack Reed (RI) said.
(image via CNN screengrab)