‘It will happen in connection with the 100th anniversary of the celebration of the [World War I] armistice…’
(John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call) President Donald Trump plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris next month, their second one-on-one meeting this year to discuss topics including a longstanding, if obsolete nuclear arms reduction treaty.
National security adviser John Bolton made the announcement in Moscow, where he has been meeting with Russian officials about the decades-old START agreement from which Trump says he intends to withdraw.
The president has voiced concern that other nuclear powers—including Iran, China and North Korea—are not held accountable by it.
“We will make precise arrangements on [when the meeting will transpire], but it will happen in connection with the 100th anniversary of the celebration of the [World War I] armistice that the French are hosting on November the 11th,” Bolton told reporters.
Scheduling the summit for November is yet another reversal from Trump.
In July, the White House issued this statement from Bolton: “The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year.”
But special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is still conducting his investigation; for instance, his team and Trump’s counsel reportedly have discussed the president submitting written answers to some questions.
Mueller has not yet signaled to Congress to expect one or more reports with his conclusions. However, other sources connected with the investigation have indicated that he will likely be ready to release key findings after the Nov. 6 midterm, and have also indicated that Democrats seeking a smoking gun on Russia collusion accusations are likely to be disappointed.
Should Democrats regain control of Congress, investigations into Trump are likely to continue in some form or another, regardless of the Mueller findings.
Partisan politics aside, the stakes for Trump will be high. His first Putin summit, in Finland in July, was widely panned by the press. Lawmakers from both parties also criticized Trump over his actions in Finland, including his repeated siding with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies over the Kremlin’s 2016 election interference campaign. Republicans joined Democrats in saying the U.S. leader appeared weak at a time he should have projected strength against an adversary.
(Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.)
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