An interesting day has dawned in America when the Kremlin knows more about the travels of top administration officials than we do. The White House verified John Bolton’s upcoming trip to Russia only after the Kremlin broke the news. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
“On June 25-27, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton will meet with U.S. allies in London and Rome to discuss national security issues, and travel to Moscow to discuss a potential meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin,” Garrett Marquis, special assistant to the president, wrote on Twitter.
Bolton’s specific itinerary was not immediately released.
The U.S. comments come hours after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had indicated to reporters that Bolton would visit Moscow.
“As far as we know, such a trip will actually take place. This is all that we can say right now,” Peskov told reporters on June 21 when asked whether Moscow was expecting Bolton’s visit.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was “ready for contacts” with the United States.
“If the agreement on a high-level meeting is reached, it will be announced,” Lavrov added.
Bolton is not the only one looking to take “a high level meeting.” Four United States Senators will be celebrating Independence Day in Russia and they’re all hopped up about an audience with Vladimir Putin as well. They are Richard Shelby, (R-AL) John Kennedy (R-LA) Steve Daines (R-MT) and John Hoeven (R-ND). CNN:
Shelby described an agenda of “high-level meetings,” though he declined to say specifically with whom. He added, “We think it’s good for us to talk.”“I hope we’re going to get to meet with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” he [Kennedy] told CNN. “I want to be able to meet with government officials, try to establish some rapport, talk about common interest, talk about common problem.”
“Now, I don’t want to do anything to start an international incident but I believe in talking frankly about these things,” Kennedy said.__He said that there have been a lot of “serious allegations that Russia has interfered with not just our elections” citing Macron’s bid in France, Brexit and Merkel.
Meanwhile Energy Secretary and “Dancing With The Stars” contestant Rick Perry will be meeting with Russian Oil Minister Alexander Novak at a time when gasoline prices are rising and Trump is threatening a trade war. Wall Street Journal:
Russia’s willingness to take positions similar to those of the Trump administration has puzzled many in OPEC. An OPEC official compared Russia’s stance to a game of “Russian roulette,” while another OPEC official said that in the oil world, “geopolitics have never been more confusing.”
The meeting between Messrs. Perry and Novak will come three days after the end of OPEC-led meetings in Vienna and on the first day of the World Gas Conference taking place in Washington. The U.S. is also an increasing exporter of natural gas, competing with Russia in a global market where both have tried to use their exports as a way to influence or help political allies.
Mr. Trump has been pressing Germany to drop its support for a major gas pipeline project coming from Russia as the price for avoiding a trans-Atlantic trade war, according to German, U.S. and European officials. And Mr. Perry also plans a joint meeting during next week’s gas conference with several European leaders to promote the Three Seas Initiative, largely designed to blunt Russia’s influence with better energy ties between European nations.
All of this is the lead up to a summit between Trump and Putin either before a NATO summit in Brussels on July 11 or after Trump’s visit to Britain on July 13. If the Singapore summit was any indication, Trump will go out of his way to insult the people at NATO, or the Brits, have a photo op with Vladimir Putin and then tweet that Putin is wonderful and world peace has been achieved.