Advisers want Kremlin critic in Trump’s meeting with Putin: report

Advisers want Kremlin critic in Trump’s meeting with Putin: report

Senior Trump administration officials are urging Trump to include Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s (NSC) senior director for Europe and Russia, in a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTaliban travels to Moscow after Trump declares talks dead Russians tune out Vladimir Putin Democrats must engage foreign policy to preserve liberal world order MORE, the Daily Beast reported Wednesday.

Hill, a Russia expert and Putin critic, has already arrived in Hamburg, Germany, where Trump will travel tomorrow for the annual Group of 20 summit. 

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But administration officials see Hill's presence at a highly anticipated meeting between Trump and Putin on Friday as necessary to avoid the appearance that the president is too eager to establish a friendly rapport with the Russian leader.

Hill, who left the Brookings Institution in March to join Trump's NSC staff, has voiced skepticism on the notion of warmer relations between the U.S. and Russia and has criticized Putin for having autocratic impulses and tendencies.

Trump administration officials want to avoid a meeting resembling one between Trump and Russian diplomats in May, the Daily Beast reported.

The president faced intense criticism in the wake of that meeting for allegedly revealing highly classified U.S. intelligence and boasting that his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey relieved him of "great pressure," because of the bureau's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The news that administration officials are pressing for Hill's inclusion in the meeting followed a New York Times report that Trump aides are worried about what the president will say to Putin when the two meet on Friday.

Of potential concern to some are the optics of the meeting, which comes as a special counsel and numerous congressional committees investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.