The White House is merely trying to deliver on a Trump promise by dealing with Vladimir Putin.
Dealing with Russia, and even working with that nation, was a Trump promise made repeatedly during his campaign. It is remarkable that Robert Mueller came out with some indictments of Russians for hacking the election just in time for this historic summit.
Republicans have made a big deal that there’s nothing about collusion with Americans in those indictments. But that misses an important point: indicting Americans would mean a trial and producing real evidence to prove the assertion beyond reasonable doubt. Conveniently for Mueller, none of these Russians will ever face trial. He is still trying to delay or evade trials for the Russians he indicted earlier.
But even if Russia did attempt to interfere, just as U.S. intel has interfered in many countries, Trump is doing the right thing to try to fulfill the promise he made to voters:
The Associated Press reports, “Summit fever: Trump reaches for big moment with Putin.”
A face-to-face sitdown with a long-feared foe. Endless media hype. Huge ratings.
Although President Donald Trump has met with Russia’s Vladimir Putin twice before, he is eager to recreate in Finland the heady experience that he had last month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore: a summit that became a mass media event complete with powerful presidential images. Ever the showman and insistent on establishing closer ties to Moscow, Trump overruled his advisers and demanded the rituals and pageantry of a formal summit.
Trump had boasted to confidants about the number of cameras in Singapore, claiming it dwarfed coverage of the Oscars, according to a person familiar with his thinking but not authorized to discuss private conversations and so spoke on condition of anonymity. Though Trump originally expressed concern that Helsinki was not glamorous enough and favored hosting Putin at the White House, the president was reassured by aides that it would be an effective backdrop. And long believing in the power of personal connections, he has insisted to aides that it was essential to sit down with Putin to establish a rapport.
“He’s been very nice to me the times I’ve met him. I’ve been nice to him. He’s a competitor,” Trump said of Putin last week in Brussels. “You know, somebody was saying, ‘Is he an enemy?’ No, he’s not my enemy. ‘Is he a friend?’ No, I don’t know him well enough.”
Drawing on his experience as a marketer and salesman, Trump has long been convinced that his mastery of powerful images has been essential to his political rise. The president has told advisers that the Singapore diplomacy made him look like a take-charge president. And it was not lost on him that his poll numbers received a temporary bump after the meeting.
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