WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Monday he “probably” won’t be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he travels to Paris later this week, but will meet with him at the G-20 gathering of world leaders later this year in Argentina.
White House national security adviser John Bolton had said previously that Trump would meet with Putin this week when he travels to Paris for the Armistice Day 100th anniversary. But Trump told reporters as he departed for a trio of rallies Monday that he wasn’t sure the venue was right.
“I’m not sure that we’ll have a meeting in Paris. Probably not,” Trump said on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews before taking off for a trio of get-the-vote rallies the day before the midterm elections.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax saying the schedule of the Paris festivities would not allow for a real meeting, but he added, “Putin and Trump will be able to cross paths and decide when they will meet in full format.”
Trump’s last meeting with Putin earlier this year in Helsinki was a public relations nightmare, as Trump declined to confront the Russian leader over the country’s meddling in the 2016 election. Trump also seemed to side with Putin over his own American intelligence agencies, declaring, “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial.”
Despite the change of plans in Paris, Trump said he did plan to meet with Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina this fall.
“We will be meeting at the G-20 and probably we’ll have meetings after that, probably plenty of meetings,” he said, repeating his long-held belief that “getting along with Russia, China and all of them will be a good thing.”
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