Putin-Trump summit set for Jul 16 in Helsinki

   PUTIN IN THE BOOT Vladimir Putin showed off his football skills in Red Square

GETTY PUTIN IN THE BOOT Vladimir Putin showed off his football skills in Red Square

The Russian leader had two brief meetings with Trump on the sidelines of global summits a year ago, but plans for a full-fledged summit have been thrown back amid the US investigations into alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia by Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Their summit could irritate United States allies who want to isolate Mr Putin, such as Britain, or who are concerned about what they see as Mr Trump's overly friendly attitude toward the Russian leader. We don't want and we don't need to be loved.

The summit is a boost for Finland, whose capital hosted major Cold War summits between leaders such as Leonid Brezhnev and Gerald Ford in 1975 and Mikhail Gorbachev and George H.W. Bush in 1990 before going on to host a meeting between Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton in 1997.

"We bombed Assad, they did absolutely nothing because the Russians don't have the capability", Kinzinger said.

Pompeo declined to reveal much about the president's thinking going into the Russian Federation summit, including on whether Trump was prepared to bargain away US opposition to the annexation of Crimea in return for improvements in other parts of the bilateral relationship. He's also given conflicting statements about the role Russia played in 2016 interference - but on Thursday echoed Russian denials, amid planning for the summit.

Trump has wavered in his approach to dealing with Putin, praising the leader in some moments while applying pressure on him in the form of sanctions at other times. "I think a lot of good things can come with meetings with people". He said he didn't meddle.

"President Obama lost Crimea because President Putin didn't respect President Obama, didn't respect our country and didn't respect Ukraine", Trump told reporters earlier in June. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, also noting that senators had planned their trip before the Trump/Putin summit, to be held in Helsinki on July 16, was announced.

While senators might be concerned that the president does not send a strong message to Putin not to interfere in American democracy, members on both sides of the aisle are supportive of the fact that the meeting is happening.

"Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!"

Finland's non-NATO status also offers Trump the chance to make the kind of symbolic gesture that carries significant weight in global relations: He'll be leaving North Atlantic Treaty Organisation territory to meet with Putin, a move that will underscore his recent criticisms of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders as he pressures them to increase their defense spending and thus lighten the American load.

Putin and Trump held their first talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany's Hamburg in July 2017.

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