Trump and Putin ‘will bond over disdain for fake news’ during G20 meeting, say sources close to US President


The two leaders are also likely to discuss the war in Syria, fighting the Islamic State and the conflict in Ukraine.

Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are reportedly expected to bond over their disdain for “fake news” when they meet later this week at the G20 summit in Germany.

While the White House has not released many details about what the two leaders will discuss, likely topics include the war in Syria, fighting the Islamic State and the conflict in Ukraine. It is uncertain whether Mr Trump will bring up Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential race.

Mr Trump – whose campaign advisers are currently facing a slew of investigations at home for possible ties to Russia – has apparently not indicated to aides that he is worried about his meeting with Mr Putin, according to the New York Times. The US President has been known to shun preparation and go with his gut in chats with leaders, but there is question over whether this is a best tactic to use in a meeting with a former foreign intelligence officer who is trained in deception.

Mr Trump has also proven to be susceptible to flattery, and two people close to the President told the Times that he and the Russian leader are expected to form a connection over their dislike for the media.

Mr Trump has frequently criticised news outlets that he views to have published unfavourable work about him or his administration. Meanwhile, Mr Putin has been accused of killing journalists who don’t agree with him.

Russia currently ranks 148 out of 180 countries for press freedom – behind South Sudan and Afghanistan, according to the international watchdog Freedom House. The US is 40th on the list, after many countries in Europe.

The White House announced this week that Mr Trump’s meeting with Mr Putin would be a formal bilateral discussion instead of the brief pull-aside at the summit in Hamburg that many had expected.

Even though Mr Trump’s aides have been unable to offer many details about what the two leaders may talk about, the Kremlin has said that Mr Putin will press Mr Trump to lift sanctions imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea, and to relinquish Russian diplomatic compounds on Long Island and in Maryland that the US seized last year.