National Security

Bolton: Trump, Putin to meet in Paris in November

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White House national security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin plan to meet in Paris, days after November’s midterm elections.

Bolton, following a one-on-one meeting with Putin in Moscow, confirmed that the Russian president suggested the leaders meet to continue discussions between the two, adding that they agreed to the date of Nov. 11 in Paris, which coincides with the Armistice Day commemoration.

“I said yes, in fact, that President Trump would look forward to meeting with him in Paris,” Bolton, who has been in Moscow for two days of high-level talks, told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.

{mosads}Trump is scheduled to travel to Paris to commemorate Armistice Day on Nov. 11, which marks the end of World War I. The trip will come just days after the U.S.’s midterm elections. 

The meeting would be the first face-to-face between the two leaders since the duo’s Helsinki summit in July. Trump was roundly criticized for his friendliness toward Putin at the summit and for his remarks casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s election interference in 2016, which he later walked back.

Bolton arrived in Moscow earlier this week for a series of high-level talks with Russian officials on a range of issues, including Syria, Iran and Russia’s election interference.

The trip comes at a point of high tensions between the U.S. and Russia, despite Trump’s wish to improve relations with Moscow to work on areas of mutual concern. 

Trump announced over the weekend that the United States plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, a landmark nuclear arms pact with Russia signed in 1987 that Moscow has been accused of violating.

“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years,” Trump told reporters Saturday before departing from a political rally in Nevada. 

“And I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to,” he said. 

The move drew ire from Moscow and demands for an explanation.

Bolton defended Trump’s decision in his meetings with the Russians, telling reporters Tuesday that Russian violations of the treaty had run “long and deep” and were a “major factor” in the decision to withdraw.

“It is the American position that Russia is in violation. It’s the Russian position that they are not in violation,” Bolton said. “It’s not like this is a new subject.”

Bolton’s trip was intended to carry on the discussions between Putin and Trump in July. Over two days, Bolton met with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev, as well as Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu. He met with Putin on Tuesday.

Bolton told reporters that he raised the issue of Russia’s election meddling in the meeting with Putin.

“We discussed our continuing concern with Russian meddling in elections and why it was particularly harmful of Russian-American relations without producing anything for them in return,” Bolton said.

He also doubled down on his belief that Russian interference had no impact on outcome of the 2016 election, an assertion he made during an interview with a Russian radio station Monday.

After his Moscow visit, Bolton will travel to Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia — the neighboring countries that make up the Caucasus region — for additional meetings with officials.

Updated at 2 p.m.

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