NEW: The first meeting between Biden, Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has concluded after nearly two hours, according to White House and Russian officials. https://t.co/roSl0JOllVpic.twitter.com/HelxyIj17p
The first meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin has concluded after nearly two hours.
President Biden called Russia a “great power” and appeared to nod when asked if he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin, sending the White House into damage control amid a chaotic introduction to the leaders’ high-stakes meeting.
The head-nod from Biden happened as US reporters and Russian security got into a near-brawl before him Wednesday in the stately Villa de la Grange in Geneva. The shoving match drowned out most of Biden’s opening remarks and appeared to confuse the 46th president as he sat near Putin.
Biden seemed to put Russia on equal footing with the US, saying in barely audible remarks, “We’re two great powers” — before nodding after a reporter asked if he trusts the Russian leader.
President Joe Biden will bring a grave #Brexit warning to his first meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: prevent a row with the European Union from imperiling the delicate peace in Northern Ireland https://t.co/NVjjYQjsKm
Speaking on Newstalk, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said:
“The intervention from Joe Biden’s administration is significant but also from my perspective, represents a lot of common sense.
“I think the US are saying ‘sort out this issue, we’re very clear from a United States perspective that the Good Friday Agreement, peace on the island is an absolute imperative and that the protocol is a contributor to that. You’ve signed up to it, adhere to it’.”
In his first official acts, Joe Biden is signing a ‘stack’ of executives orders reversing Trump policies on a broad range of issues, including rejoining the Paris climate accord and mandatory mask-wearing.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Presidential inauguration ceremony…
…the scale of the security effort can be put into perspective by comparing the number of Guard members in Washington to the number of troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. National Guard members have been arriving in the U.S. capital from all over the country and it is estimated that 25,000 will be present for the inauguration.
That’s five times as high as troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan combined with around 2,500 service members serving in each country, according to a recent Department of Defense press release.
Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller ordered a Pentagon-wide halt to cooperation with the transition of President-elect Biden, shocking officials across the Defense Department, senior administration officials tell Axios.
A top Biden official was unaware of the directive. Administration officials left open the possibility cooperation would resume after a holiday pause. The officials were unsure what prompted Miller’s action, or whether President Trump approved.
Miller’s move, which stunned officials throughout the Pentagon, was the biggest eruption yet of animus and mistrust toward the Biden team from the top level of the Trump administration.
A Pentagon official said that the reason was that the staff involved in the transition is “overwhelmed.”