Trump says hopes to play golf in Scotland ahead of Putin meeting

Brendan Smialowski—AFP

The Kremlin hailed US President Donald Trump as a "partner" on Friday (Jul 13) ahead of his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Just a day earlier, it seemed as if Trump would sooner shove May off a much steeper metaphorical ledge.

The charges shine an even brighter spotlight on Trump's treatment of Putin, who has repeatedly denied that Russian Federation sought to skew the election that Trump, a Republican, unexpectedly won. "Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy", the Democratic leader added.

Multiple Democrats, including party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, said Trump should cancel the summit.

Striking in the indictment is the stated finding that key sources of leaked information from the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of candidate Hillary Clinton-both DC Leaks and the hacker persona known as Guccifer 2.0-were both the creation and under the control of the GRU, the Russian government's cladenstine intelligence service. Schiff said on CNN that Trump should "cut his losses on this disastrous trip to Europe" and return without engaging with the Russian leader.

"His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the president is more loyal to President Putin than to our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies", Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.

"I will absolutely, firmly ask the question" about interference in the USA election, Trump said at a news conference with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers, her country estate.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent critic of the president, said Trump must do more than ask.

The White House said the release of the charges would not affect the summit.

Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump had pressed Putin on the matter, while the Russian foreign minister said Trump had accepted Putin's denials that Russia interfered in the election.

The last, brief meeting between Putin and Trump took place in November 2017 in Vietnam during an APEC summit.

Since coming to power a year ago, Trump has sought to improve relations with Putin.

Trump, a 72-year-old former NY real estate developer who praises his own dealmaking skills, and Putin, a 65-year-old former KGB spy and judo black belt, are due to have some time alone at the summit.

After tens of thousands of people marched peacefully against Trump in central London on Friday, a few thousand protested in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, were a blimp depicting Trump as an orange, snarling baby was raised.

"The United States looks forward to finalising a great bilateral trade deal", he said, and repeatedly praised May's leadership, saying she was a "terrific woman".

A pro-Trump demonstration is also due to be held in London by alt-right campaigners, as well as a counter, anti-fascism protest.

"Why would an American president whose first North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting last year was a disaster, show up in Belgium this year just to prove he doesn't understand how vital alliances have made a huge difference for the security of the United States and the lives of Europeans?" Pure stupidity. But it makes it very hard to do something with Russian Federation.

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