US officials say allies discounting Trump-Putin summit as 'meaningless'

Despite President Trump's deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin at their post-summit press conference in Hels...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 11:18 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 11:18 AM

Despite President Trump's deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin at their post-summit press conference in Helsinki on Monday, several senior administration officials say the State Department is not getting bombarded with concerns from US allies because they have concluded that Trump and Putin did not make any firm agreements.

"There isn't a lot of clean-up because there doesn't seem to be a lot of spillage," one senior official said. "The feedback we are getting from the Europeans is that they are relieved. They were worried he was going to give away the store and he didn't. So they aren't thrilled with the optics, but they are fine."

The immediate diplomatic reaction to Trump and Putin's press conference was scathing. European envoys offered assessments that ranged from "frightening" and "devastating" to "an abomination," with some raising the need to create new strategies to deal with the US as a now less-than-reliable ally, perhaps even an adversary.

Trump's endorsement of the Russian President over his own intelligence services and his failure to confront Putin on key issues such as Crimea and the Novichok poisonings in the UK signaled to many that he was giving Putin carte blanche to do what he wants.

But days after the summit it seems the level of alarm has subsided a little.

US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Huntsman, US ambassador to Russia, briefed NATO ambassadors of the North Atlantic Council, the principal decision-making body within NATO, about the Helsinki talks in Brussels on Tuesday. Beyond that, the State Department said that there has not been any high level engagements on the matter.

Another senior administration official said that Europeans are seeing Trump's comments at the press conference as "a performance for domestic political consumption which they already anticipated."

"The summit itself was meaningless," the official said. "It's being discounted."

The official's comments echoed that of a Western diplomat, who predicted that any commitments Trump made to Putin at the summit would not lead to tangible changes in US policy toward Russia.

The diplomat, who called Trump's performance at the press conference with Putin "pathetic and devastating," said the one "silver lining is that nothing will come out of this summit" because Trump never follows through on what comes out of the meetings with world leaders.

"Putin probably thinks the whole thing was a joke. Even if he wanted to get something from Trump, it never goes anywhere," the diplomat said. "And he doesn't know anything on substance. So even if you accept that strategy, how does he negotiate?"

A senior State Department official said neither the administration nor its allies sense the "climate of crisis" being portrayed in the media or by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

"Our relationship with Russia and our positions are the same today as they were on the 15th," the official said. "The Helsinki meeting was an opportunity to see where the relationship could go in the future."

However, there is concern that so little is known about the substance of what Putin and Trump discussed in their private meeting with only translators present.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said there were three proposals discussed at the meeting that the US is "currently assessing."

According to Nauert, the proposals included establishing a high-level working group with business leaders from both countries and an "expert council" that would include political scientists from the US and Russia, current and former diplomats as well as former military officials -- similar to an initiative between the US and Soviet Union years ago.

Lastly, Nauert said officials from the US and Russian national security councils would meet to discuss "follow-up meetings."

"These are certainly all modest proposals," Nauert said. "The President had said going into this that we wouldn't solve all the world's problems in one meeting, in one conversation with the Russian government, but we think it's a pretty good place to start."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115763

Reported Deaths: 3263
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 158701

Reported Deaths: 2680
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23292377
Mobile16916315
Tuscaloosa10345140
Montgomery10250197
Madison935096
Shelby739063
Baldwin665869
Lee654665
Calhoun459961
Marshall439550
Etowah428551
Houston417034
Morgan416435
DeKalb342629
Elmore320853
St. Clair295542
Limestone287230
Walker279492
Talladega266435
Cullman248024
Lauderdale229442
Jackson215915
Autauga205931
Franklin205531
Colbert202132
Russell19493
Blount193225
Chilton188432
Dallas186627
Coffee177111
Dale176351
Covington174729
Escambia172730
Clarke135217
Chambers135044
Pike134113
Tallapoosa132987
Marion108129
Barbour10339
Marengo101922
Butler101140
Winston92913
Geneva9067
Lawrence85832
Pickens85218
Bibb84014
Randolph82716
Hale76830
Washington74912
Clay74412
Cherokee73814
Henry7176
Lowndes71328
Bullock64917
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60830
Perry5926
Fayette57713
Cleburne5698
Wilcox56812
Conecuh56113
Macon53620
Lamar4965
Sumter47221
Choctaw39212
Greene34216
Coosa2043
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
58° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 58°
Columbus
Few Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 60°
Oxford
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather