FROM Alec Luhn
The summit within the summit After warm greetings in public, Presidents Trump and Putin were behind closed doors for more than two hours today in Hamburg, Germany. For the moment, their meeting has overshadowed the larger G-20 summit, as protesters stormed local police in the streets of the city. Mr. Trump’s aides said he had “no agenda,” but Secretary of State Tillerson says he began with Russia’s meddling in America’s election. Putin denied it. With US-Russian relations at their lowest point in decades, is there any chance of a rapprochement? Is that in America’s interests?
Are Russian protests a threat to Putin? Riot police detain demonstrators during an anti-corruption protest organised by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, on Tverskaya Street in central Moscow, Russia, June 12, 2017 Photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters This could have been one of Russia's most extensive days of political protest in recent history. Police in 200 cities were out in force and at least 700 have been arrested so far. Demonstrators also had to share the streets with people colorfully dressed in historical costumes for a Russian holiday. We hear more from the Guardian 's Alec Luhn, who was covering today's protests and was arrested at demonstrations earlier this March, and from Andrew Weiss, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment where he oversees the Russia and Eurasia Program.
The Russia reaction to Trump leaks Now that the Oval Office conversation between President Trump and Russian officials is the subject of global speculation, let's hear how it is playing out in Russia. The Washington press corps is abuzz with reports that Trump shared classified information with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Is it even a story in Moscow? We ask Alec Luhn, who's based in Moscow for the Guardian.
Putin Holds Forth on Marathon Call-In Show Despite economic recession, President Vladimir Putin has 80% approval in Russia. Today, he held the annual, four-hour televised call-in that's designed to keep it that way. Alec Luhn writes from Moscow for the Guardian newspaper and the Nation magazine.
Russia's Currency Crisis The price of oil and economic sanctions have panicky Russian consumers rushing to buy whatever they can as the ruble loses its value, but at today's three-hour, end-of-the-year news conference, Vladimir Putin said , not to worry: the crisis will only last a couple of years. He blamed the US and Europe, said the Russian bear won't be chained up -- saying he was referring to nuclear weapons. We look at what might be in store for Ukraine and at the role of Saudi Arabia in Russia's economic decline.
Ukraine's Future and Russian Politics Despite last week's plan to "de-escalate" the crisis, Ukraine and Russia are now exchanging accusations over Saturday's deadly shootings near the Eastern city of Sloviansk. Russia says Ukraine has failed to crack down on "extremists" as promised last week in Geneva. Ukraine says people were killed in a "crude provocation" staged for Russian TV. Vice President Biden has arrived in Kiev for talks with Ukraine's interim government starting tomorrow, while the Obama White House decides whether to escalate economic sanctions. Would they make any difference in the short term? Does Vladimir Putin want to invade Ukraine, or will continued destabilization suit his purposes? His domestic approval rating is 80% based on nationalism and conservative values. Is that more important than the economy in the short term?
Trump's new look at civil rights and global warming President Trump is reportedly ready to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We look at the possible consequences. On the second half of the program, we hear about cuts in Obama-Era civil rights programs called for by the Trump Administration's first budget plan.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.