Trump predicts Putin meeting will be ‘easiest’ part of European trip

Trump predicts Putin meeting will be ‘easiest’ part of European trip

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President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, in November 2017. (Photo courtesy of the Russian Presidential Executive Office)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week may be the “easiest” portion of his seven-day trip to Europe.

“I have NATO, I have the U.K, which is in somewhat turmoil and I have Putin,” Trump said from the White House South Lawn, listing highlights of the trip’s itinerary. “Frankly Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think?”

When asked if he believed if Putin was a friend or foe, Trump demurred, saying that he would describe him as a “competitor.”

Trump left the White House Tuesday for Brussels, Belgium, which is the site of the 2018 NATO summit.

On Thursday, he will arrive in the United Kingdom, where he will meet with British officials and visit his private golf resort in Scotland.

He is scheduled to meet with Putin on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, first for one-on-one talks followed by a larger bilateral meeting.

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