President Trump canceled the scheduled G20 on-the-sidelines meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin with only hours to go before the G20 meeting was slated to begin in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday afternoon. TASS reported that the reaction from Moscow was simple: Disappointment:
The Kremlin regrets the US administration’s decision to cancel a meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“We regret the US administration’s decision to cancel the planned meeting between the two presidents in Buenos Aires,” he said. “This means that a discussion on important issues on the bilateral and international agenda is being postponed indefinitely.”
At issue, officially, was the Kerch Strait incident. President Trump’s tweet about this was far from accusatory, but it did reflect dimly the point of view the US holds about Ukraine in contrast with Russia:
….in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018
Dmitry Peskov continued:
“As far as Russian President Vladimir Putin is concerned, he is ready for contacts with his US counterpart,” the Kremlin spokesman added.
Meanwhile, a high-ranking official of the White House’s National Security Council told TASS that Washington had formally notified Russia about Trump’s decision. The official replied positively to a question on whether the White House has notified the Russian side in accordance with the established official procedure, but gave no further details.
US President Donald Trump wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday evening that he decided to cancel a bilateral meeting with the Russian president on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires due to the recent incident in the Kerch Strait. The announcement, in fact, was contrary to the US president’s own statement made about an hour earlier, when he told reporters that the talks were not terminated and “it’s a very good time to have a meeting.”
Earlier, Trump said his the final decision would depend on a report from his advisors on national security and foreign policy regarding the incident in the Kerch Strait.
Apparently those advisers got his attention. The matter may be further complicated by reports surrounding the Robert Mueller-led probe into collusion between the 2015-16 Trump campaign and Russian agencies that started to come to print on Wednesday and Thursday, noting among other things the “cooperation” between former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and Mr. Mueller. This, by Fox News:
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, criticized the timing of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea on charges of lying to Congress: just before the president was about to leave for a high-stakes G-20 summit in Argentina.
Giuliani issued a statement Thursday saying Mueller’s office was proving Trump’s former lawyer lied to Congress by using documents that were already voluntarily disclosed by the Trump Organization “because there was nothing to hide.”
“It is hardly coincidental that the Special Counsel once again files a charge just as the President is leaving for a meeting with world leaders at the G20 Summit in Argentina,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani’s statement called out Mueller’s office for playing politics with the surprise announcement. Giuliani pointed to a similar decision in July when the Department of Justice announced that 12 Russian intelligence officers were to be indicted for allegedly hacking the Democratic National Committee and others.
The July indictment was announced days before Trump was slated to hold a key summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Trump was meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in Britain at the time of the announcement.
But CNN and the mainstream media are taking a (predictably) different track:
Silent for so long, Robert Mueller is beginning to show the public the building blocks of a case that could imperil Donald Trump’s presidency.
In the process, the special counsel is beginning to expose the lies and obfuscations that people around Trump, and the President himself, erected to try to hide multiple, unexplained ties to Russians in, and before, 2016.
He is offering implicit explanations along the way for the President’s oddly solicitous relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
And Mueller is now crossing a red line Trump once warned could prompt his firing — by probing his business empire.
By securing a cooperation agreement with Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, Mueller Thursday scored a motivated witness who has intimate knowledge of Trump’s past business and personal life.
And by sponsoring a court document detailing Cohen’s confession and by having his team spend 70 hours acquiring additional testimony, Mueller is signaling his new star witness may have more to tell and there may be more grave revelations to come.
In fact, Thursday may have been the most significant day yet in the Mueller probe that has cast a long shadow over Trump’s presidency.
The cooperation agreement could offer documents, other evidence and testimony that could take Mueller deep into Trump’s family and personal circle.
With a lede like this, the pall of some incredibly dark crime is spread over the Presidency, even though collusion is not actually a crime, and even though there has never been proof found of collusion in this matter.
What it does signal is that Mueller appears not to be finished with his investigation, and the US President has possibly been hamstrung by his own strategy not to resist it.
Speculation in media punditry has long pointed out the capability of the President to forcibly terminate the two-year long investigation and to fire Robert Mueller. But at the same time, reality is that the President has done nothing of the sort, and instead has complied fully with the investigation, with guidance from his own legal team to avoid perjury traps that Mr. Mueller might try to spring.
Yet with RussiaGate resurfacing in the American news, plus the timing of the Kerch Strait incident, it may well be that a well orchestrated ruse is underway by the “Deep State” to do anything possible to hinder and hamper positive relationship-building with President Putin and the very conservative, Christianity-aligned Russian Federation.
As noted in the Fox piece, this sort of attempt to befoul the two leaders actually accomplishing anything happened in the runup to the July 16th, 2018 summit in Helsinki the two leaders did have. And even though they did have the meeting, Mr. Trump’s initial assessment that it was a good meeting was excoriated by the press, and a possible result was the imposition of stricter sanctions against Russia than ever before.
One might do well to think about what it is that is actually so frightening about the two strongest sovereign nations in the world entering into a productive partnership.
Someone is definitely trying to prevent this from happening.