Days before Putin summit, Trump in a spot over Russian spies’ indictment
Washington, July 14: US President Donald Trump's current Europe tour is perhaps the most eventful of all his foreign itineraries so far. After having a stormy outing in the Nato summit where he taunted Germany as Russia's 'captive' and in the UK where he swiftly switched between contradictory takes on Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump found himself at the receiving end ahead of his first summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, July 16.
A number of Democrats have asked President Trump to call off his summit meeting with Putin after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence operatives alleging that they were behind the high-profile hacks during the US presidential election of 2016 - an issue which has been haunting Trump for long. The hacks included that of the computer networks of the campaign of Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent in that election.
The accusations of the Russian spies just three days ahead of the Trump-Putin summit have, understandably, created a stir in the US's domestic politics for many Democrats are against this summit, especially when Russia has been repeatedly accused of interfering in the American election.
It also gives the Democrats an opportunity to escalate the issue ahead of the key midterm elections in November.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump should scrap the meeting unless the Kremlin promised to stay away from American elections in the future. He opined that going forward with such summit despite the latest indictments only insulted the American democracy.
Senator Elizabeth Warren even asked Trump in a tweet to get his "butt on a plane back to the United States".
Another Democratic Senator Mark Warner asked the US president to raise the issue with Putin and if he was not willing to do so, the meeting should be called off.
Trump had said before embarking on his Europe trip that meeting Putin would have been the easiest work for him (compared to those with the leaders of other American allies) but after Mueller's indictment, which many said was timed in a way to make it uncomfortable for the president, the easiest might not be so easy at all.