President Biden assembled a group of outside Russia experts — including former Trump officials — to brief him for his summit with President Vladimir Putin, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.
Why it matters: The previously unreported session demonstrates the extent to which Biden wants to be well prepared, drawing on the experience of officials with first-hand knowledge of the onetime KGB colonel’s tactics and tricks.
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- The group urged Biden not to hold a joint press conference with Putin or afford him any opportunity to try to upstage the private talks with new public proposals.
- After his first formal summit with Putin, in Helsinki in 2018, President Trump questioned his own intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election: “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”