Trump’s tough North Atlantic Treaty Organisation talk plays well on eastern flank

The Syrian national flag rises in the midst of damaged buildings in Daraa Syria on July 12

The Syrian national flag rises in the midst of damaged buildings in Daraa Syria on July 12

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle Friday called on President Donald Trump to consider canceling his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland after new indictments in the special counsel probe headed by Robert Mueller.

Trump and Putin will sit down together in Helsinki for a day of meetings that will touch on major points of tension between their countries - the Kremlin's meddling in the 2016 election, its military incursions into Ukraine and Syria, Moscow's sabre-rattling toward North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and the American economic sanctions meant to punish Russian Federation for its behaviour.

The US president is due to meet Putin in Helsinki for talks in which he hopes to establish a good personal relationship with his Russian counterpart. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, asked whether Trump should meet one-on-one with Putin, responded by saying that "we know Russian Federation meddled in our elections and we're glad these hackers are being held to account".

"Will we be talking about meddling?"

Negotiations would then be widened to include members of both delegations, he said, adding that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold parallel talks in Helsinki with his US counterpart, Mike Pompeo. "I'll be talking about nuclear proliferation".

Last week, a group of Republican senators traveled to Moscow and met with Russian officials where they say they firmly warned the Russians to stop meddling in US elections. I will absolutely bring that up.

"I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where - we're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said.

Asked if he could accept Russia's annexation with Crimea and still get along with Putin, he said, 'When it comes to Crimea, there's nothing much I have to say about it other than we will look at that just like I'm looking at many disasters that I've taken over'.

Trump indicated on Thursday that he does not have a list of demands for the Russian president.

"If [Trump] and his team are not willing to make the facts of this indictment a top priority of the meeting with Putin, then he needs to cancel it - the Helsinki summit", Warner added.

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McCain wasn't the only Republican senator to criticize Putin following the indictments.

The United States and Russian Federation are by far the world's biggest nuclear powers.

"It will be over a relatively short period of years", Trump said. Perhaps that is why Trump wants to meet with Putin alone.

USA intelligence agencies concluded that Moscow interfered and Trump has said he would discuss it, although he has stated both a willingness to believe Putin's denials and US agencies.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg demurred when asked what Trump had accomplished, saying the allies "agree that we need to deliver on our commitments".

Under Trump, the USA started selling lethal weapons to Ukraine to aid the country's battle against Russian-backed rebels.

In the interview with Britain's The Sun, Trump said a new trade deal with the United States was unlikely because of May's Brexit negotiation tactics.

Will Republicans in Congress now finally side with the American people instead of acting like they are part of Trump's legal defense team, the way they did during the sham hearing Thursday as they grilled and personally attacked former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok?

Most of all, the Helsinki summit provides Trump yet another live trial of his honest belief that he is uniquely qualified to build relationships and negotiate hard deals with American adversaries. Also included in the sanctions were limits on the administration's ability to ease the measures, a provision Trump strongly opposed.

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