Administration Says Second Putin Summit Is Delayed

Contrary to last week's reports, we won't be seeing a second summit with Vladimir Putin in the near future.

Last week, just days after what pretty much everyone seems to agree was a disastrous summit meeting in Helsinki, it was reported that President Trump intended to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington for a second summit. Now it appears that such a meeting is off the table until at least some time next year:

WASHINGTON — The White House said on Wednesday that President Trump wants to delay a planned follow-up meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia until after the investigation of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is concluded — which the White House predicted would be next year.

“The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said in a statement.

Last week, Mr. Trump unexpectedly said he would invite Mr. Putin to Washington in the fall — a move that some interpreted as a show of defiance by Mr. Trump after a storm of criticism over his meeting with Mr. Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

Mr. Trump directed Mr. Bolton to deliver the invitation. But the Kremlin had not yet accepted the invitation, raising questions about whether Mr. Putin was interested.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in Moscow, Yuri Ushakov, a Kremlin aide, acknowledged receiving the invitation but declined to say whether Mr. Putin would visit Washington this year. Mr. Ushakov said that the leaders had not discussed the future meeting while in Helsinki, but that Mr. Bolton had later conveyed the invitation to Russian officials.

According to some reports, the Russians didn’t exactly jump at the invitation for a second meeting so soon after the Helsinki, suggesting instead that Trump and Putin could meet again at the upcoming G-20 Summit in Argentina, which is scheduled to take place at the end of November. Additionally, there were several members of the President’s own party who reacted negatively to the idea of Putin coming to Washington, with both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both made it clear that they would not be extending an invitation to Putin to address Congress. Other Senators and Congressmen, as well as some pundits, noted how inappropriate it would be for Putin to be visiting Washington around the same time as the midterm elections, especially since its clear that his country is actively seeking to interfere with those elections just as they had done in 2016.

As I said when this second summit idea was first announced, there isn’t anything per se wrong with the idea of the President and the leader of Russia meeting, but Helsinki makes it clear that any such summit should only occur if there is some reason for a meeting that involves something other than another photo opportunity. Unless that happens, then Trump and Putin can meet on the sidelines of international meetings like the G-20 or they can talk on the phone. As a general rule, though, these meetings usually only end up being productive when they are the capstone to lower-level meetings and negotiations that allow both leaders to achieve something other than smiling for the cameras. This is especially true when it comes to meetings with adversarial nations. So far, we’ve seen the result of meetings without preparation in both June’s summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore and the Putin summit last week. A repeat of those meetings would be an utter waste of time, so it’s a good thing that this second meeting with Putin has bee put on the back burner for now.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    It appears someone in the White House lassoed Trump and forced him to listen to recent poll numbers. Half of the American people think their president is a Russian stooge. I know in the crazy town that is Trump World we have a surfeit of bizarre, but still: half the American people believe their president may be a traitor. To say that ain’t normal doesn’t begin to describe it.

    So slooooooowly it has begun to dawn on the Trump White House that maybe. . . just maybe. . . they should see if they can’t pry Trump’s lips from Putin’s ass. The huckster’s hype men have begun to notice that he’s losing the crowd.

    In just the last 24 hours Trump surrendered one front of his insane three front trade war, and now he’s looking for ways to pretend he’s not a traitor. The problem with that is: he is a traitor.

    Donald Trump kept his wreck of a business ’empire’ alive by accepting dirty Russian money. And he’s so fcking stooopid he didn’t realize you don’t get to treat the Russian mob like you do a bank, you don’t just get to declare bankruptcy and toddle off to enjoy some more adultery. Putin doesn’t play reality TV star business tycoon, he plays KGB business tycoon, so he almost certainly backed up his economic stranglehold on Trump with some additional kompromat. He owns Trump and he’s making no real effort to disguise that fact.

    Unfortunately for Putin his asset is an idiot. Trump, like so many bullies, has two modes: thug and toady, with no nuance in between. He’s so obviously, blatantly, crudely, humiliatingly subservient to Putin he’s like my wife’s crippled Chihuahua begging for table scraps. Voters have begun to notice. So we get a panic move from Trump: cancel the summit I announced like a fcking moron thinking it’d be popular!

    Another wild lurch from the staggering buffoon elected by 46% of American voters and 100% of the Kremlin.

  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Missing out on one appointment with his Dom probably won’t be the end of the world.
    BTW – Dennison’s campaign had 82 contacts with Russian operatives and reported none of them. But there was no collusion.

  3. Mark Ivey says:

    #Michael Reynolds

    I’m surprised the Trump organization has not announced they are going to start selling Russian made Lada cars in America. But i’m hopeful that the new gold plated “Trump smartphone” will soon start rolling out exclusively from ZTE…

  4. dazedandconfused says:

    Michael Reynolds

    Alternate theory:

    Putin publicly stated he ordered his guys to help Trump in the last one, probably because he believes this to be trivial and it is the idiotic denials which are causing the lion’s share of the trouble for his protegee. Seems likely Putin would have warned him of this in their private meeting.

    Nice try, but only to watch the big dummy continue to deny it at that very same meeting, and then attempt to wipe Putin’s statement out of the official records..which is madness. There’s an old Russian saying: “You can’t fix stupidsky.”

    It may well be Putin who doesn’t want another “summit”.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:


    It may well be Putin who doesn’t want another “summit”


    Excellent thought.

  6. charon says:

    Putin is just counting coup, by embarrassing Trump for his own amusement. We have seen much the same behavior from the DPRK, Trump’s personality makes it easy. And fun.

  7. CSK says:


    Indeed. Trump is desperately needy for the approbation of the tough guys.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think Trump canceled the fall “summit” because Putin didn’t bother to reply to his invitation. It was a frantic measure to save face. Didn’t work.