The leader of the Democratic Party in the United States Senate is baffled that President Donald Trump has not prepared a specific agenda for Friday’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit.
To remedy Trump’s lack of planning, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the president’s favorite information platform – Twitter, of course – to brief the leader of the free world prior to the bilateral meeting with the Russian strongman.
During Schumer’s four senate terms, nine congressional terms and three terms in the New York State Assembly, the politician from Brooklyn has been known for his policy preparation almost as much as for his fondness for TV cameras. The Harvard Law grad, who scored a perfect 1600 on the SAT tests, offered Trump a discussion agenda.
It's baffling that @POTUS doesn't have a specific agenda for the Putin meeting. Here are the first few things that come to my mind:
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 5, 2017
Schumer proceeded to list:
#1. Putin’s interference in our elections last yr. Attack on our democracy. House needs to pass Senate sanctions bill. https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf
#2. Putin’s interference in the elections of our European allies & partners. We stand with our friends in Europe.
#3. Putin’s occupation and annexation of Crimea.
#4. Putin’s support to Russian-led separatists in the Donbas & failure to comply w Minsk Agreemts. We stand w/ our Ukrainian brothers & sisters.
#5. In Syria, Putin’s support to and cooperation with Assad regime, Iran, and Hezbollah. We stand with the Syrian people.
#6. Putin’s suppression of political dissent in Russia.
#7. Putin’s energy manipulation and coercion of our European partners and allies.
#8. Putin’s threatening of NATO allies, including deployment of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.
#9. Urge Putin to work to mitigate the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
#10. Putin’s ongoing violations of INF treaty.
#11. Putin and his oligarch’s corruption and fleecing of Russia and its people.
Vladimir Putin is “professionally prepared to try to manipulate people,” former US Ambassador to Russia William Burns told Bloomberg. “He will come well-equipped, and it’s important that we do that too.”
“Donald Trump’s encounter with Russian leader Vladimir Putin is raising concern among veteran American diplomats and analysts about a mismatch between a U.S. president new to global affairs and a wily former Soviet spymaster experienced in the long game of strategy and statecraft, Margaret Talev, Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov reported for Bloomberg Wednesday. “Their highly anticipated meeting this week at the Group of 20 summit promises to set the tone for the next four years of U.S.-Russia relations. Putin — who has been president or prime minister of Russia since 1999 — has used his first face-to-face meetings with prior presidents to try to gain the upper hand.”
“The biggest risk may be what Trump says when he meets Putin face-to-face on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg this week, in an unscripted setting where anything could happen. Aides are expected to accompany the president during the official meeting, to help manage the encounter,” Abigail Tracy reported for Vanity Fair. “But foreign policy experts still worry that Trump—a political neophyte highly susceptible to flattery—will be easily outmaneuvered by Putin, a former K.G.B. officer with decades of experience in global affairs.”
Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who wrote briefers for then-President Barack Obama before meeting with then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, also attempted to publicly brief Donald Trump prior to the meeting.
“Your goal is not a friendly chat — diplomacy is not a popularity contest — but a clear statement of U.S. national security and economic objectives and an exploration of what issues the United States and Russia could pursue together,” McFaul explained. “Don’t expect any breakthroughs in this first meeting. Your task is to demonstrate to Putin that you are a tough negotiator committed to pursuing American interests, and one that is not willing to offer concessions simply to win Putin’s praise.”
“Trump has been hobbled at home by investigations into Russian election interference, ties between Russia and Trump campaign associates and his firing of FBI Director James Comey. The U.S. has yet to hand back over to Russia the two diplomatic compounds taken by the Obama administration after the election. Congress also is pushing legislation to bolster sanctions against Russia despite Trump’s opposition,” Bloomberg noted. “On paper, an American president holds more cards heading into a meeting with Russia. The U.S. has the larger economy and military and more allies. But Putin is a veteran of geopolitics with a wealth of experience handling his global counterparts.”
“I’m very worried that the United States could be out-gamed,” former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Russia and Ukraine Evelyn Farkas told Bloomberg. “Trump “seems susceptible to praise and flattery, and Putin seems to very much understand our president’s psychology.”
Watch ABC News’ Cokie Roberts and political analyst Matthew Dowd discuss with George Stephanopoulos what to expect at President Trump and Vladimir Putin’s first face-to-face meeting: