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Friday, July 07, 2017

Trump Confronts Putin About Russian Election Meddling

By Douglas V. Gibbs

With the handshake seen around the world, President Donald Trump established with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the American President is not a pushover like the previous resident of the White House.  In a longer than two hours meeting (which had been scheduled originally for 30 minutes), Trump was also not shy about asking the hard questions, including ones regarding rumored Russian meddling into the U.S. Elections in November of 2016.  The Russian leader assured Trump that Moscow did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the president was "rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point."  Tillerson also stated that President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had "positive chemistry" during their first meeting.

Also on the table of discussion was Russia's presence in Syria, Russia's decision to use Russian military police to monitor a fragile cease-fire in southwestern Syria, cybersecurity, Ukraine, North Korea and much much more.

We must ask, did Trump look into the eyes of Putin like George W. Bush did and see a man he could work with, or did Trump see a man he must be very wary of?  Is Putin the grand enemy the Democrats make him out to be (funny, the Democrats didn't start considering Russia a grand enemy until after the former Soviet Union abandoned communism), or does he truly wish for a good relationship with the U.S. and wants Russia to become more free and based on free market principles?

No matter the answer, Tillerson claims the meeting was "very constructive" and "there was so much to talk about" that neither leader "wanted to stop."

A good sign?

Putin is used to being the guy feared in the room, but Trump's strong personality did not let Putin throw his weight around.  Trump is a businessman, and he's seen shady characters many times in his life.  He knows how to work with them, and how to negotiate with them, and I am thinking Putin realizes that, and may even see the challenge as a breath of fresh air.

Truth is, we have much in common with Russia.  North Korea is a concern for both countries.  Both presidents want what is best for their country, and their people.  Both presidents see the situation in the Middle East as potentially devastating and earth-shattering.  The meeting was not about bickering over differences, but working to establish a working relationship to tackle the issues that both country's view as critical.

Trump said of the meeting, "We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia and the United States."

President Donald Trump also met Mexico's president Enrique Pena Nieto in their first face-to-face meeting since Trump took office, but maintained, despite calling Nieto a "friend," that he will still be building the border wall to keep drugs and criminals out of the U.S.

Trump also maintains Mexico will ultimately pay for the wall, if not upfront, through years of fees and trade agreements.

Nieto still insists Mexico will not pay for the wall.

I think he is underestimating the powerful will and business acumen of Donald J. Trump.

While the activists in Hamburg who have set dozens of cars on fire and have tried to block leaders' delegations from entering the grounds of the Group of 20 summit have been a concern, the meeting went off without a hitch, with only the spouses being unable to join the meetings being a direct difficulty as a result of the rioting.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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