Speed Reads

bon voyage

Trump seems to feel pretty confident about his upcoming meeting with Putin

President Trump departed with his wife on Tuesday morning for Brussels, where he will attend a NATO summit, followed by a visit to Britain and then Finland, where he is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Assessing the week ahead, Trump told reporters before his departure: "I have NATO, I have the U.K., which is somewhat in turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all — who would think?"

It might be surprising for the American president to suggest that his meeting with Putin will be easier than meetings with U.S. allies, especially when the United States envoy to Moscow, Jon Huntsman, has told The New York Times that Trump plans to "hold Russia accountable for its malign activities," like election meddling and the annexation of Crimea. A former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow, warned, however, that Putin is "very clever."

"He can charm Trump into changing his position or dropping longstanding U.S. positions if he's alone with him for too long," said Vershbow.