President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will converse in person on Friday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg.
Ahead of the meeting, many experts expressed concern that "Trump may be glibly walking into a trap where he will be played by the Russian leader," as The New York Times writes. "It is a win-win situation for Putin," said Carnegie Moscow Center political analyst Andrei V. Kolesnikov, as the Kremlin is able to paint Trump as weak if the meetings are unproductive or if Trump agrees to work with Russia on issues like Syria, despite the Ukraine crisis and clear evidence of interference in the 2016 election.
"President Trump must have the courage to raise the issue of Russian interference in our elections directly with President Putin, otherwise the Kremlin will conclude he is too weak to stand up to them," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement. "That would be a historic mistake, with damaging implications for our foreign policy for years to come."
Trump, for his part, is going into the meeting with "no specific agenda," his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, has said, although the president tweeted Friday he "will represent our country well and fight for its interests!"