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White House planning for potential Trump-Putin summit: report

White House planning for potential Trump-Putin summit: report
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The White House is preparing for a potential summit between President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE and Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday

Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, is helping to set up the meeting, though the planning is still in its early stages, the Journal reported. 

“This has been an ongoing project of Ambassador Huntsman, stretching back months, of getting a formal meeting between Putin and Trump,” a senior administration official told the Journal.

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If it comes to fruition, the summit would be the third meeting between Trump and Putin. The two leaders met on the sidelines of Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, last July and again in Vietnam during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam in November.

During a phone call between the two leaders in March, Trump extended an invitation to Putin to come to Washington.

The prospective meeting would come at a point of heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow. 

The U.S. intelligence community revealed in a report made public last year that Russia had sought to meddle in the 2016 presidential election to sway the race in Trump's favor.

Russia's role in the election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow is still the subject of a criminal investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE.

The U.S. has also condemned Moscow's support for the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, as well as Russia's military intervention in eastern Ukraine.

Relations became even frostier in March, when the U.S. and dozens of other countries expelled Russian diplomats from their borders in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom with a military-grade nerve agent.

Russia has denied responsibility for that poisoning, and has blamed the U.S. for orchestrating a blackmail campaign against it.