Trump Starts Asia Trip Setting Expectations for Putin Meeting
Touching down here for the first stop of his five-country tour of Asia, President Donald Trump said he expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip.
"I think it's expected we'll meet with Putin, yeah," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Tokyo from Hawaii. "We want Putin's help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders."
The face to face, which would be Trump's third with the Russian leader, will likely come in Vietnam later this week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, amid heightening global tensions around the North Korea crisis.
Asked if he thought North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might test another missile during Trump's time in the region, the president said "we'll soon find out. Good luck!"
But the expected meeting with Putin also comes at a time of continued American scrutiny, both of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and investigations into whether there was any collusion with anyone involved in the Trump campaign.
Less than a week before Trump departed on the trip, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted by Special Counsel Bob Mueller and it was revealed that former campaign adviser George Papadopouloshad pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Kremlin-connected Russians.
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