A bruised Trump set for first meeting with world leaders after midterm elections

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By Carol E. Lee

PARIS — President Donald Trump heads to France on Friday bruised yet emboldened by an election at home and set to face many world leaders pushing a global view squarely at odds with his “America First” vision.

Looming over Trump’s weekend in Paris, where dozens of heads of state will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and call for more international engagement, is the prospect of an impromptu pull-aside discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A formal meeting between Trump and Putin was pushed back until later this month when they’re both in Argentina for a global summit. But it’s possible a substantive discussion could take place here as the two men have held lengthy informal exchanges on the sidelines of other international gatherings.

The potential encounter between Trump and Putin comes as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is expected to publicly ramp up after a quiet couple of months during the midterm campaigns. And Trump is expecting an onslaught of congressional oversight investigations from Democrats after he’s back home.

On Thursday the Trump administration took steps likely to anger Russia and please European leaders by adopting new sanctions in response Moscow’s continued “destabilizing” activity in Crimea.

Trump’s Paris visit is a consolation trip of sorts. He initially directed the Pentagon to organize a U.S. military parade in Washington to mark Veterans Day, but those plans were scuttled when the price tag came in at more than $90 million.

Instead Trump said he would accept French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to attend this weekend’s events in Paris. And while the president had called the celebration of Armistice Day a “parade,” it’s actually a series of events, including a dinner Saturday night and a ceremony on Sunday at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe.



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