The Guardian reports: Donald Trump has told White House aides to come up with possible concessions to offer as bargaining chips in his planned meeting next week with Vladimir Putin, according to two former officials familiar with the preparations.
National security council staff have been tasked with proposing “deliverables” for the first Trump-Putin encounter, including the return of two diplomatic compounds Russians were ordered to vacate by the Obama administration in response to Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, the former officials said. It is not clear what Putin would be asked to give in return.
There is strong resistance in the NSC and state department to one-sided concessions aimed simply at improving the tone of US-Russian relations. There is also opposition within the administration to Trump’s preference for a formal bilateral meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Germany, as first reported by the Associated Press.
Some officials argue the meeting should be a brief and informal “pull-aside” at the two-day summit, which starts next Friday in Hamburg, in view of the fact that Trump is under multi-pronged investigations into his campaign’s relationship with Moscow. The sceptics also argue there has been no let-up in Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, which was the trigger for the bulk of the sanctions. [Continue reading…]