Putin aide: Putin-Trump summit is happening

CNN's Michelle Kosinski reports that, according to an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump and Putin will attend a summit.

Posted: Jun 28, 2018 7:22 AM
Updated: Jun 28, 2018 7:25 AM

Trump and Putin are meeting next month. What could possibly go wrong? If recent history is any guide, we have no shortage of reasons to worry.

Russia rushed to announce the summit before the final details were ironed out, perhaps betraying the Kremlin's excitement. After all, it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who has the most to gain from the controversial meeting. The biggest losers, depending on how President Donald Trump acts during his busy July on the global stage, could be America's closest allies and the security of the United States.

From the early days of his presidential campaign, Trump exhibited unabashed admiration for the Russian strongman. Once in office, he has shown a stubborn reluctance to acknowledge that Putin's government interfered in the 2016 elections, followed by continuing efforts to downplay Russia's misdeeds.

All of that has been coupled with Trump's persistent mockery and criticism of America's closest friends. This praise-your-enemies and kick-your-friends foreign policy could reach its most dramatic display in the coming weeks, when Trump will meet not only Putin but also US allies at the NATO summit in Brussels and on a visit to London.

Perhaps Trump will surprise us, but what the world has seen so far explains why there is so much apprehension among America's allies and so much glee in Moscow. There is every reason to predict that Trump will treat the allies with contempt while lavishing praise on Putin, even though Trump's own intelligence chief has declared that the Russians not only interfered in the last election, but continues targeting American democracy. The risks, however, go beyond symbolism.

The itinerary brings to mind Trump's June meetings, which left America's friends close to despair. You'll recall the President attended the G7 summit in Canada. Before he left, he declared that Russia should be brought back into the exclusive group of democracies that expelled Russia after it illegally seized Crimea from Ukraine.

While Putin had much to celebrate, America's friends were alarmed at Trump's behavior. Then Trump went to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He not only offered over-the-top praise for one of the world's most brutal dictators, he made concrete concessions that have not been reciprocated.

Watching Trump's Art of the Deal in action, America's friends are deeply concerned.

The prospect of Trump sitting down with Putin opens up a host of troubling possibilities. Sure, Trump could surprise us all. He could speak out clearly against Putin's seizure of another country's territory and his interference in other country's elections. He could show a united front with NATO allies, declaring unequivocally that America remains committed to mutual defense and vowing that the United States and NATO will maintain a protective umbrella over Eastern Europeans who fear Russia's expansionist policies.

If the NATO summit shows a unified alliance, an outcome that was never in doubt before Trump took office, it will have been a success. But that seems unlikely.

Trump's anti-NATO rhetoric has never quite stopped. In one of his most bizarre speeches, just this week he again complained about how much the alliance costs the United States.

The parallel with North Korea is inescapable. After meeting with Kim, Trump announced he was canceling military exercises with South Korea, claiming it would save a lot of money, even as military strategists worried about what amounted to a huge concession to North Korea. Poland fears a similar gift to Putin. Anna Maria Anders, a Polish senator and secretary of state, said the Poles fear that Trump will be "charmed" by Putin. "Above all," she said, "we don't want him to give up US forces on Polish soil." The fears are palpable. "We're praying this will not happen."

Europe's profound unease is hard to miss. Former Vice President Joe Biden said several European leaders have told him that Trump's bizarre, insulting behavior has left them confused about Trump's intentions. "There's overwhelming anxiety," Biden said, calling it "the most serious transatlantic crisis in 70 years," with disastrous consequences for the United States.

That can only be music to Putin's ears. In his worldview of Russia against the West, a weakened Western alliance means a stronger Russia.

So, what does Putin want from Trump? Already Trump has delivered one of the top items on his agenda -- the anguish and uncertainty among America's allies about the forthcoming meeting is a massive strategic gain for Moscow.

But beyond the meeting itself -- a triumph for Putin -- Russia has a longer wish list. It no doubt includes the lifting of sanctions against Russia. The United States and its allies imposed them in response to Russia's seizure of Crimea. Separately, the United States imposed more sanctions over its interference in American elections, and human rights abuses.

Russia views the law known as the Magnitsky Act as a particular irritant. Putin would like to hear Trump accept Russia's annexation of Crimea, downplay its role in a civil war in Ukraine, and dismiss concerns about Putin's dismantlement of what was a fledgling Russian democracy.

Trump cannot unilaterally lift sanctions, but even if he doesn't grant Putin any of those wishes during their upcoming summit, Trump has already given the Russian President the item that was at the top of his list: the fraying of the ties that bound Western democracies, which had allowed the United States to lead the world's strongest alliance for the past 70 years. What more could go wrong?

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 33558

Reported Deaths: 2110
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9616571
Lake3538185
Cass15897
Allen145168
St. Joseph124834
Elkhart116328
Hendricks116171
Hamilton115693
Johnson1093108
Madison58559
Porter51627
Bartholomew50034
Clark49241
LaPorte42423
Howard39526
Tippecanoe3903
Jackson3791
Delaware37736
Shelby36822
Hancock32728
Floyd31839
Boone30935
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2652
Montgomery23517
White2318
Decatur22431
Clinton2231
Noble21121
Grant20621
Harrison19221
Dubois1923
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Dearborn16621
Vigo1648
Lawrence15423
Miami1411
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Orange12522
Scott1193
Kosciusko1111
Franklin1098
Ripley1086
Carroll922
Marshall901
Daviess8516
Steuben812
Newton7710
Wayne776
Fayette767
Wabash762
LaGrange712
Jasper651
Washington521
Jay500
Fulton481
Clay471
Rush462
Randolph463
Pulaski460
Jefferson431
Whitley393
Starke363
Sullivan341
Owen341
Brown331
DeKalb331
Perry310
Benton300
Knox290
Wells280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Crawford240
Blackford242
Fountain202
Switzerland200
Spencer191
Parke170
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0164

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 117455

Reported Deaths: 5270
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook762663570
Lake8063287
DuPage7543362
Kane6188170
Will5442269
Winnebago215654
McHenry151471
St. Clair109179
Kankakee87144
Kendall76919
Rock Island64624
Champaign6177
Madison56558
Boone42817
DeKalb3924
Sangamon34629
Jackson26810
Randolph2674
McLean21713
Peoria2128
Ogle2023
Stephenson1992
Macon19519
Clinton18117
Union1519
LaSalle14713
Whiteside13512
Iroquois1314
Coles12514
Unassigned1250
Out of IL1191
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox970
Grundy952
Monroe9411
McDonough878
Lee791
Cass710
Tazewell714
Henry680
Williamson642
Pulaski510
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry420
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan351
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Menard210
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Mercer170
Hancock160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
Bond121
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Effingham71
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 72°
Robinson
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 71°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 70°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 68°
Casey
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 73°
Brazil
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 72°
Marshall
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 72°
A wonderful Saturday with sunshine expected!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events