Trump will enter the July 16 meeting in Helsinki with "eyes wide open" to assess whether Putin wants to improve relations, Ambassador Jon Huntsman said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. They have met just twice before, on the sidelines a year ago - the G20 summit in July and the APEC conference in Vietnam four months later.
Previously, Putin and Trump have had meetings on the margins of other global gatherings.
While Trump wants to improve relations, "the ball is in Russia's court and the administration will continue to hold Russian Federation accountable for its malign activities", he added.
Mr. Trump's political opponents in the US will be looking for any sign that the president goes easy on Mr. Putin, which they would say bolster allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Moscow to hack the 2016 presidential election.
As previously reported "FACTS" before the United States presidential Advisor for national security John Bolton said that the upcoming meeting trump and Putin could improve relations between the two countries, and one of the topics at the meeting may be a possible return of Russian Federation to the Big eight. But the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit is likely to be dominated by Trump's insistence that member nations step up and pay more for their joint defense. The White House isn't planning any specific actions to come out of the meeting, though it is possible there will be some concrete agreements reached, an administration official said.
Just last week, he trumpeted a Putin talking point, tweeting: "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!"
He said conversations "on election meddling, on Ukraine, on Syria" have happened "through diplomatic channels, but there hasn't been a full airing of the issues in our bilateral relationship that really matter most to global stability".
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