The White House and Kremlin have agreed to stage a summit meeting between President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE and Russian President Vladimir Putin, officials from both countries said Wednesday.
During a news conference in Moscow, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Trump had requested he do all he can to arrange the high-stakes meeting.
“There will be an announcement on that tomorrow, simultaneous in Washington and Moscow,” Bolton told reporters after meeting with Putin.
Russian foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov told news outlets earlier that Bolton and Putin decided on a time and place to hold the high-stakes meeting and that details would be announced on Thursday.
Trump and Putin are expected to meet next month, when the U.S. president will be in Europe for a summit with NATO allies and a visit to the United Kingdom. Officials are planning to hold the Trump-Putin summit in a third country. Media outlets have named Helsinki, Finland, as a potential location.
Putin welcomed Bolton to the Kremlin earlier Wednesday. The two posed for a photo in an ornate room along with other officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman. Bolton also visited U.S. allies in London and Rome during his trip.
The meeting was set up in order to pursue Trump's long-held desire to hold a summit with Putin in order to form a personal relationship with the Russian leader and help repair frayed ties between their two nations.
Both leaders first met informally last July on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Many U.S. lawmakers and overseas allies have expressed fears about the Trump-Putin summit, arguing it is not a good idea, given Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, which is under investigation by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE.
Bolton on Wednesday pushed back on that criticism, saying it is “complete nonsense” to think the meeting proves that Trump associates colluded with Moscow to interfere in the election.
"The president determined that, despite the political noise in the U.S., direct communication between him and President Putin was in the interest of the United States, in the interest of Russia, and in the interest of peace and security around the world,” he said.
Bolton sought to assuage American allies by saying Russia’s election interference would likely be a topic of conversation during the summit. He also said Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which occurred during its military intervention in Ukraine, is “not the position of the United States.”
Russia’s involvement in conflicts in Ukraine and Syria have long angered the U.S.’s NATO partners and the Trump-Putin meeting will likely create added tension at the alliance’s upcoming summit in Brussels.
The top security aide downplayed the possibility the summit would produce a major diplomatic breakthrough, but expressed hope it could lead to "constructive solutions" to a “wide range of issues.”
Trump has come under fire for his gushing praise of Putin, despite the Russian leader’s record of human rights abuses and foreign interventions.
Trump congratulated Putin on his election victory in March, even though his advisers instructed him not to do so.
He recently said Russia should be welcomed back in to the Group of Seven (G-7) major world economies, which it was ejected from in 2014 in response to its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
“Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” Trump said ahead of this month’s G-7 summit. “And in the G-7, which used be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
The summit would come on the heels of Trump’s nuclear negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, which marked the first time the sitting leaders of both countries met in person.
--This report was updated at 1:21 p.m.