President Trump met with Russia’s Vladmir Putin for over two hours on Friday during the G20 summit mainly focusing on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and ways to reduce violence in Syria. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said, that Trump accepted Putin’s statement, that the Russian leadership did not interfere in the 2016 election while U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson told reporters that the two leaders had “clear positive chemistry”.
Yesterday, the White House announced that President Trump will meet Russian President Putin during the G-20 gathering which is scheduled to happen next week. The White House did not comment on whether or not Trump will push questions of Russia’s meddling of the 2016 election onto Putin. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster said, “There’s no specific agenda — it’s really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about.”
Hundreds of demonstrators were detained in Moscow and other Russian cities on Monday in an anti-corruption protest before a court sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to his second prison term this year. The demonstrators chanted “Russia without Putin” and “Russia will be free”, among the protesters, many young people. Navalny is hoping to unseat Putin in an election next year and has been asking many to protest in cities against mass corruption.
Amid investigations for seeking to establish a direct, secure communication line with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, it has come to light that Jared Kushner in December had had a meeting with a Russian banker, Mr. Gorkov, who is close to the Russian President. It is unclear whether the meeting with Mr. Gorkov was genuine or was to create a go-between to establish the communications line to Putin. In a statement on Monday, a White House spokeswoman said that “Mr. Kushner was acting in his capacity as a transition official” in meeting with the Russians.The meeting with Mr. Gorkov is now being scrutinized by the F.B.I. as part of its investigation into alleged Russian attempts to disrupt last year’s presidential campaign, and whether any of Mr. Trump’s advisers assisted in such efforts.
At the G20 Summit which happened earlier this month, unbeknownst to the public, a meeting between Trump and Putin has taken place. This hour long talk has happened between the two men over dinner, just after their official meeting. The White House made a statement saying there was no second meeting as it was only a talk during dinner.
Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged the United States is interfering with Russia’s presidential campaign by inciting disqualification of six Russian athletes from 2018’s Winter Olympics. The Russian athletes were punished for doping violations which although announced by Spanish and Swiss officials, Putin claims were influenced by Americans using ‘connections and dependencies’ in international sports.
Putin has openly stated this week that he did not have any involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election hack, but he alluded that some “patriotic” citizens of Russia may have been the ones to have orchestrated the hack, if it had even come from Russia. Putin said what the USA is currently going through is “Russo-phobic hysteria” that makes it “somewhat inconvenient to work with one another or even to talk,” adding that “someday this will have to stop”. He said on Thursday that he is going to wait out political battles in the US so he can forge ties with Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, news broke that Putin is offering to give a transcript of Trump’s meeting with Russian envoys. Puttin told, “If the administration of the United States deems this possible, we will be ready to provide a transcript of the Lavrov-Trump meeting to the U.S. Senate and Congress”. The offer was laughed off by both parties, Senator Marco Rubio saying, “I wouldn’t put much credibility onto whatever Putin’s notes are and if it comes in an email, I wouldn’t click on the attachment, that’s for sure”.
Many viewers who heard Stephen Colbert’s joke on what Trump and Putin did behind closed doors saw the joke as offensive, disrespectful, and homophobic. The public headed to twitter under the hashtag #FireColbert to express their disdain. He commented on the issue on Wednesday saying “Now, if you saw my monolog Monday, you know that I was a little upset at Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine. So at the end of that monolog, I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight. So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be.”
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, the President Vladimir Putin said President Donald Trump is “not his bride” nor Putin “is his groom.” The remark came from a background where the U.S. had shut down several Russian diplomatic outposts and further U.S. sanctions on the country. Putin refrained from criticizing Trump directly and avoided several questions on him.