White House officials confirmed Thursday that Donald Trump is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit next week. Russian government sources already had confirmed the two leaders would meet.
But asked in an off-camera briefing if the President would bring up in that meeting Russia’s interference in the 2016 election on his behalf—an effort confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies—National Economic Council Chair Gary Cohn demurred.
“We don’t have an agenda set up right now,” he said. “As you know, these meetings are a week away. We haven’t finalized the schedule.”
When reporters asked what the Trump administration is doing, if anything, to hold Russia accountable for hacking in the run-up to the election and prevent such activity in the future, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said that all government departments are working together to “confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior” and “deter Russia.” He declined to give details of that effort.
McMaster then pivoted to speak in greater detail about the need for the United States to work with Russia on national security matters.
“What are the areas that we can identify in which we can work together with Russia? There are a lot of problems in the world that fall under that category,” he said, rattling off North Korea, battling international terrorism, and the ending the conflict in Syria.