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According to the Associated Press, which first broke the news on Twitter, the White House confirmed Trump and Putin's in-person meeting but didn't offer any details as to what the pair might discuss. He says no "specific agenda" has been set for the meeting.

US intelligence agencies say Russian Federation hacked and leaked emails of Democratic Party political groups to help Trump win the 2016 USA presidential election against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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"I have no relationship with him", said Trump, later continuing, "He said something nice about me". But other aides cautioned that appearing close to Putin would present an optics challenge to a President under a cloud of controversy over the Russian meddling.

"As the president has made clear, he'd like the United States and the entire West to develop a more constructive relationship with Russian Federation but he has also made clear that we will do what is necessary to confront Russia's destabilizing behavior", McMaster said.

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Aside from an official phone call between newly-inaugurated Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which the former trashed his predecessor's nuke treaty as a "bad deal" without understanding it, the pair hasn't met in person. Such concessions could include returning two diplomatic compounds in the USA to Russian Federation or lessening sanctions.

A proposed new package of sanctions on Russian Federation in the U.S. Congress might complicate Trump's desire for warmer relations with Moscow. This week, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Moscow was preparing retaliatory measures on the United States for the property seizure and the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

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The bill passed two weeks ago 98-2 despite concerns raised by the Trump administration. The economic meeting taing place in Germany will be the first between the two men. But the official said members of Trump's national security team remain concerned about the optics of a formal sitdown at this stage.

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