If there has been a single moment from the Donald Trump presidency that was seen the same way by people on both sides of the aisle, it was his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Democrats, Republicans, reporters on CNN and Fox News all came together for a brief moment to decry Trump’s anti-American display when he took the Russian president’s words at face value over his own intelligence agencies regarding whether or not Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections to help Trump.
Now, Putin is requesting another meeting, and the request came in the form of a Christmas greeting to Trump. According to CNN, the note from the Kremlin read:
‘In a congratulatory message to President of the United States of America Donald Trump on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year holidays, Vladimir Putin emphasized that Russian-American relations are an essential factor in ensuring strategic stability and international security, and confirmed that Russia is open to dialogue with the United States on the widest possible agenda.’
Putin wishes Trump a merry Christmas, says Russia-US relations are key to "ensuring strategic stability and international security." https://t.co/7UlJgYHjKx
— John Bacon (@realjohnbacon) December 30, 2018
Putin had requested a meeting earlier in December, stating that he wanted to meet to work with the United States on several key issues, and found it important to do so before the end of December, when the Republicans still control both houses of Congress. During the G20 Summit, the two had planned to meet but public outcry had forced Trump to cancel that meeting, using the Russian tactics in Ukraine as an excuse. Putin acknowledged at the time that a meeting in December may not be possible.
‘I don’t know whether a meeting will happen. On multiple occasions I’ve said I am willing to meet, we have a number of issues to discuss, including our bilateral agenda.’
Lest anyone misunderstand this tweet, the President just announced on Christmas Eve that he has negotiated for the murderer of a Washington Post journalist from Virginia to send planeloads of money to Putin-backed Assad. https://t.co/Kev88X2PKh
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 24, 2018
With the Mueller probe at a critical stage and Democrats prepared to launch a more comprehensive investigation into Russian election interference, a meeting between the two may not be possible ever again. Considering the Trump administration’s attempts to set up a backchannel to Russia, some of which may have been successful and as-yet-unknown to the American people, it’s likely that a meeting between the two would be for little more than a show. With Democrats at the helm in one of the two chambers of Congress, it’s unlikely to happen at all.
‘Of course, now power in the Congress is changing and I’m sure that there will be more attacks on the President. Whether or not he will be able to have direct dialogue with Russia as a result of that, I don’t know.’
— New York Post (@nypost) December 30, 2018