Trump Tells Biden To Give Putin His ‘Warmest Regards,’ Reminisces On ‘Great’ Helsinki Summit
Less than a week before President Joe Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, former President Donald Trump put out a statement insisting his widely criticized 2018 Helsinki summit with Putin went “great” and telling Biden not to “fall asleep” when meeting with the strongman.
Trump said in a statement he had a “great and productive” summit with Putin, at which he contradicted U.S. intelligence on alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election, stating, “Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Trump said the negative image of that meeting is the result of a “belated Fake News portrayal,” claiming he “won much” from it, including the “respect of President Putin and Russia,” though what they actually discussed in their closed-door meeting remains a mystery.
Trump said it was the “obvious” choice for him to believe Russia over former U.S. intelligence officials with whom he has feuded, including former FBI directors James Comey and Andy McCabe.
Trump wished Biden “good luck” in “dealing with President Putin,” and, in a continuation of attacks he made on Biden’s physical and mental capacity during the election, added “don’t fall asleep during the meeting.”
“Because of the phony Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax, made-up and paid for by the Democrats and Crooked Hillary Clinton, the United States was put at a disadvantage—a disadvantage that was nevertheless overcome by me,” Trump said, reflecting how he feels his presidency was kneecapped by the Russia probe.
Former White House Counsel Don McGahn told the House Judiciary committee in closed-door testimony last week that Trump was “intense” about his efforts to remove Robert Mueller as special counsel and upend the Russia investigation, detailing repeated overtures by the ex-president to have him press former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Mueller’s alleged conflicts of interest.
What To Watch For
In addition to seeking common ground in a number of policy areas, Biden is expected to press Putin on alleged human rights violations in Russia and cyberattacks on the U.S. Russian officials have said Putin will decry the “persecution” of those charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which was an effort to overturn Biden’s election victory.