There is no question that the biggest event internationally this week will be the meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The meeting is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany at the G20 summit, and we can expect the eyes of the international community will be watching the two world leaders.
Here is a look at what will be the expected topics:
1. 2016 Election
The theme and style of the meeting will be of critical importance to President Trump as he continues to be dogged by alleged ties to Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
It’s going to be a bit of a tightrope as Trump will have to show that he has a good relationship with Putin without people thinking it’s a little too friendly as it could fuel more alleged collusion talk.
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2. Congressional Sanctions
That leads right into the talk of sanctions. The House blocked a Senate bill authorizing sanctions against Russia for their alleged involvement in the outcome of the election.
It’s going to be a bit of a tightrope as Trump will have to show that he has a good relationship with Putin without people thinking it’s a little too friendly…
However, the leadership did not pass the bill appropriately as it impacts the constitution. That prompted accusations from Democrats that the House Republican leaders were trying to stall the bill at Trump’s request.
House aides said Thursday a solution was being crafted in coordination with the Senate to address the constitutional issue, which dealt with possible revenue from fines that could be levied under the bill. A vote on the matter is not likely to happen before Trump and Putin meet.
And if reporters are allowed to ask questions, expect the sanctions issue to be one of the questions.
Both presidents also have the backdrop of Syria to contend with and have said a solution for that war-torn country is vital for stability in the Middle East.
US and Russian forces have come dangerously close to contact in the past weeks, and the nasty rhetoric has escalated. The US is trying to help anti-Assad militias in their quest to oust the regime, and Russian forces are in the region to help Assad and his government.
Trump and Putin will look to deconflict this hot zone.
Will President Trump make demands of Putin to release the pressure the Kremlin has exerted on Ukraine, and will the subject of Crimea, the area taken over by Russian forces, even be a big talking point?
Certainly the aggressive nature Putin took in Ukraine did not sit well with European leaders, or leaders around the world, and it will be interesting to see if Trump presses the issue and demands Russia vacate the country.