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Trump will "likely" meet with Putin in "not too distant future," Pompeo says

Trump pushes for better Russian relations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that President Trump is "likely" to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the "not too distant future" and national security adviser John Bolton will head to Moscow in the next few days.

While still uncertain, it's a more definitive statement than the White House has offered lately, amid questions of whether the two leaders will hold a summit. Pompeo made the comment to MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt in a Friday interview released Saturday. 

"I don't know what the president's schedule is going to be," Pompeo said. "I know Ambassador Bolton's planning to travel to Moscow on Sunday or Monday. He'll be meeting with his counterpart, and I think it's likely that President Trump will be meeting with his counterpart in the not-too-distant future following that meeting."

Pompeo said he has spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov since becoming secretary of state earlier this year. 

"I don't know if I'll be heading to Moscow," Pompeo said. "I'll meet with my Russian counterpart somewhere, I'm sure.  I've spoken to Sergey Lavrov a couple of times already as the Secretary of State.  Good conversations, each of us expressing our displeasure with each other for various things, all the while making sure that the things that matter most to America, right – you can't mess around in American elections."

Mr. Trump was criticized for his call to bring Russia back into the G-7 earlier this month, saying they should also have a seat at the table, despite their handling of Crimea that kicked the Kremlin out of the group in 2014. 

"Russia should be in this meeting," Mr. Trump said on his way to the summit in Canada. "Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? And I would recommend, and it's up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it."

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