White House desperate to prevent Biden-Putin face-off at G20 summit: report John Byrne BeastSnow, Jerome A.
“The White House is desperately trying to prevent the prospect of a face-off between the U.S. vice president and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit in Brisbane next weekend,” Bloomberg reporter Anne Gearan, a veteran of Watergate coverage and reporting on the Iraq war, said on Sunday on MSNBC.
“The administration is trying to make sure that the two leaders will meet in private meetings rather than face-to-face,” said Gearan, who noted that Vice President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Putin held a 10-minute phone conversation two weeks ago, but “not a face-to-face conversation.”
In an interview that aired Monday on CNBC, Putin said he would not hold back any opportunity to express his opinions to Biden, who will be one of his guest speakers at the Brisbane summit.
“I think he should say what he thinks, but I also think that my colleague and my friend can express him too,” Putin said when asked about the private phone conversation.
“If you want to have a personal conversation, you can talk with me. Or with my colleague… But if you want to have a personal conversation, you can also talk with me.”
Gearan said that despite what Putin said during his interview, one senior administration official told her, “I wouldn’t be surprised if [the U.S.-Australia summit] will be an open-ended discussion with Vice President Biden.”
The senior U.S. official added, “He had a number of meetings with President Obama.”
“If you’re going to have a phone conversation with Vladimir Putin, you’d better have a phone conversation with Joe Biden,” Gearan said.
In his CNBC interview, Putin said he “can’t remember what I had said.”
When asked by CNBC anchor Nick Turse if he thought Biden should not be in the meeting with Putin, Putin said, “My hope is that our leaders will meet in a personal atmosphere.”
Putin acknowledged that there was tension in the relationship between Russia and the U.S., but said,