Trump and Putin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President-Elect Donald Trump is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after his inauguration, according to a report by British paper The Sunday Times.
The report, published early on Sunday, said that Trump officials told British officials that the president-elect will meet with Putin at a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The meeting would constitute Trump's first foreign trip as president.
Later on, two top aides to Trump denied that he is planning to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin weeks after taking office. "The story is a fantasy," one Trump aide told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. Another said the report was not true.
Trump responds to reports of interference with Russia on Twitter, Jan. 11, 2017
Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has spoken of seeking warmer relations with Russia. Still, the relationship between the two nations has been a major focus in recent months.
A report by the Wall Street Journal on Friday suggested that Trump might do away with US sanctions against Russia - imposed by the Obama administration in late December in response to Moscow's alleged cyber attacks - if Moscow proves helpful in battling terrorists and reaching other goals important to Washington, the Journal reported.
Furthermore, on January 7, US intelligence agencies reported that Putin ordered an effort to help Trump's electoral chances by discrediting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign. Russia's objectives were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate former secretary of state Clinton, make it harder for her to win and harm her presidency if she did, an unclassified report released by the top US intelligence agency said.
The report said US intelligence agencies believe Russian military intelligence, the GRU, used intermediaries such as WikiLeaks, DCLeaks.com and the Guccifer 2.0 "persona" to release emails that it had acquired from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and top Democrats as part of the effort. The release of the emails led to embarrassing media coverage for Clinton and triggered the resignation of the DNC's chief.
Russia denies the US government's allegations of hacking during the election campaign, though Trump's incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said days later that the president-elect had accepted that Russia directed the hacking.
Reuters contributed to this report.