Calls by some Democrats in Congress for President Trump to cancel his Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin – in response to the indictment Friday of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking emails of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton – make no sense. President Trump is wise to stick with his plans to meet with the Russian leader in Finland. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Friday night that the summit will take place despite the indictments. President Trump agreed to the meeting with Putin not as a reward or endorsement for Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election, but because the meeting is in America’s national interest. Like it or not, Russia is a major nuclear power and the U.S. needs to maintain a relationship that will minimize conflicts between our two countries and advance U.S. foreign policy goals around the world. Similarly, when President Nixon began the process of normalization of relations with China that led to diplomatic recognition and trade with the communist nation he was under no illusions that China was a peace-loving democracy that posed no threat to U.S. interests. But President Nixon – like other presidents throughout our history – concluded that America must deal with nations with which we have adversarial relationships. Does anyone seriously think that President Franklin Roosevelt believed Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was a true friend bearing no ill will toward the U.S. when Roosevelt and Stalin formed an alliance to fight the Nazis in World War II? No one is talking now about Trump and Putin forming a military alliance – the two leaders just want to discuss issues of importance to both of our countries. The grand jury indictments Friday grew out of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Muller of Russian election meddling and allegations that some people in the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians. Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said that the indictment did not make any allegations that the Trump campaign worked with the Russians to interfere with the U.S. election or that Russian interference influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The 11-count indictment of the 12 Russians includes charges of conspiracy against the U.S., money laundering and attempts to hack into the computers of government agencies including state election boards. President Trump said earlier in the day Friday in England that he would again bring up the issue of Russian interference in the American election when he meets with Putin Monday, but said he expects Putin will stick with Russia’s position denying such interference ever took place. Our president is right – it’s unrealistic to expect he can force Putin to admit something Putin has long denied. It’s about time the two leaders met one-on-one. President Trump has sat down with Chinese president Xi Jinping twice for lengthy meetings, once in Florida and once in Beijing. And Trump just concluded a meeting with leaders of the other 28 NATO nations in Belgium and with British Prime Minister Theresa May in England. In fact, Trump has met with many leaders from around the world, both friendly and unfriendly since taking office, including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in June. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement Friday saying there is no evidence that the 12 people indicted by Mueller are linked to Russian military intelligence and calling the indictments a “shameful farce” designed to “spoil the atmosphere before the Russian-American summit.” The Russians earlier blamed the U.S. political climate for holding up a summit, and they are right about that. Reporters and Democrats have whipped themselves into a frenzy with the false claim that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to swing the presidential election, and are ready to pounce on President Trump for even the hint of a “tilt” toward Putin. Presidents Putin and Trump certainly have plenty of issues to discuss on Monday besides Russia’s meddling in our 2016 election, even though that’s unquestionably an important and serious issue.
For more on this excellent op/ed by best-selling author Kenneth R. Timmerman, click on the text above. Mr. Timmerman, who got his M.A. from Brown University, is a former lecturer at the Joint Counter-Terrorism Training Academy. If you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy of his book “Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War Against America.” It is a must read.