The Wall Street Journal: Trump says ‘Putin’s fine,’ and he plans to ask again about election meddling

The Wall Street Journal: Trump says ‘Putin’s fine,’ and he plans to ask again about election meddling

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet July 16.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump plans to raise the issue of Russia’s “malign activity” in Europe, its efforts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election, and allegations that Moscow possesses banned missile technology in a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Trump and Putin are set to meet July 16 in Helsinki for their first formal bilateral talks. The two will meet alone, before being joined by their advisers for an extended session later that day, the official said, in a telephone briefing with reporters.

Trump plans to press Putin over Moscow’s use of “hybrid warfare” — shorthand for Russia’s use of information warfare in tandem with political or military confrontation, the senior administration official said, as well as over its activities in the Balkans and the U.K., which earlier this year accused Putin of ordering a nerve-agent attack against a Russian former double agent in Britain. European Union leaders supported the U.K. in its accusation, and the U.S. heightened sanctions on Russia, in part over its alleged role in the poisoning.

Late Thursday, speaking at a rally in Great Falls, Mont., Trump said he felt ready for the meeting. “They’re going ‘will President Trump be prepared? You know, President Putin is KGB.’ And this and that,” Trump said of news media reports. “You know what? Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people. Will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I’ve been preparing for this stuff my whole life. They don’t say that.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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