Mr. Putin noted the man he spent two-and-a-half hours with yesterday is a much different person than the Donald Trump he’s seen on television in the past. He asserted that as a result of the meeting, “personal relations” have been established.
The Trump we see on TV is very much different from the real person. I think that if we continue building our relations like during our conversation yesterday, there are grounds to believe that we’ll be able to – at least partially – restore the level of cooperation that we need.”
Putin acknowledged the American president pressed him on the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He claimed that he assured Trump there was no meddling, and that the president accepted his assurance.
He [Trump] asked many questions on that subject. I answered those questions as best I could. I think he took it into consideration and agreed with me, but you should really ask him how he feels about it.”
Ironically, the Russian president said the two leaders discussed and agreed to work together on cybersecurity issues.
The US president and I agreed that we’ll create a working group and work together on how to jointly monitor security in cyberspace, how to ensure unconditional compliance with international legal norms, and how to prevent interference in internal affairs of foreign countries. If we manage to organize this work – and I have no reasons to doubt that – then there will be no more speculation on this topic [of Russia meddling].”
Putin then took the opportunity to criticize European media for trying to meddle in Russia’s internal affairs. He singled out German, French and European media.
He then praised the United States for taking a more “pragmatic” approach to the war in Syria.
I think the [US] position became more pragmatic. It doesn’t seem to have changed drastically [compared to the Obama administration], but there’s an understanding that we can achieve a lot by joining forces.”
Putin emphasized the significance of the de-escalation zones in Syria to maintain the territorial integrity of the country. In response to those calling for the removal of Syrian President Assad, the Russian president made it clear Syria’s future must be decided by the Syrian people, not outside entities.
While some political observers applauded the meeting and the prospect of the two world leaders working together on common interests, some also raised a word of warning.
British journalist and political commentator Martin Summers believes it’s a positive development that the two men established a personal chemistry. But he warned that the Deep State in Washington could prove an obstacle for President Trump.
It is to be hoped that it is possible that relations could be improved because obviously they have been in a pretty poor state up to now. I think the problem for the Russian side and for everybody really is how much Trump is in charge of his own administration. Because it is quite clear that the CIA, the Pentagon and so on are often wrong-footing Trump moves. And therefore there is some question about whether he can deliver whatever he discussed with Vladimir Putin.”
Summers’ concern is shared by Trump supporters who’ve seen how unreliable GOP leaders in Washington and the DC bureaucracy have been thus far since Inauguration Day.
A very interesting and potentially good change and start. But don’t expect the left to leave it alone!