Trump aides want Kremlin critic in Putin meeting

According to two White House aides, senior Trump administration officials have pressed for Hill—the National Security Council’s senior director for Europe and Russia and the author of critical psychological biography of Putin—to be in the room during the president’s highly anticipated meeting with Putin.

If Hill is there, these officials believe, it will help the White House avoid the perception that the president is too eager to cozy up to the Kremlin. The hope is to avoid a repeat of Trump’s last meeting with top Russian officials, during which he disclosed classified intelligence to two of the country’s top diplomats—and was pictured by Russian state media looking particularly friendly with them.

“If she [Hill] wasn’t there it would be pretty bad, this is the most momentous thing in her portfolio,” said former Pentagon Russia policy chief Evelyn Farkas, who added that the only valid reason not to include Hill would be to make room for McMaster in a room with limited space.