- The Washington Times - Friday, July 6, 2018

Russia’s “malign activity” will be a top discussion item when President Trump meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May during his visit next week to the U.K., America’s top diplomat in London said Friday.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. Robert “Woody” Johnson said the president and the prime minister are “on the same page” when it comes to Russia’s “malign activities.”

“They will be discussing that issue — the relationship with Russia — at the meeting at Chequers,” Mr. Johnson said, referring to the prime minister’s ceremonial country estate in Ellesborough, about 45 miles northwest of London.

Mr. Trump and Ms. May will meet at Chequers for a series of bilateral talks.

The powwow between the two leaders, whose countries are the closest of allies, will come three days before Mr. Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Mr. Trump is expected to confront Mr. Putin on a range of conflict areas, including the annexation of Crimea, wars in Ukraine and Syria, and hacking the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

However, the former KGB colonel is not likely to give ground on any of those issues.

The aggressive and hostile acts by Russia include accusation Moscow was behind the March nerve-agent assassination attempt on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

Another British couple — 45-year-old Charlie Rowley and 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess — were poisoned Saturday with the same Soviet-era nerve agent, Novichok, in the same area.

Russia has denied involvement in the nerve agent exposures.

It remains unclear how Mr. Rowley and Ms. Sturgess were exposed.

Mr. Trump’s two-day visit to the U.K. begins Thursday and includes an audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

The president will also attend a black-tie dinner with business leaders and diplomats at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, which is the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

Mr. Johnson stressed the close ties between the U.S. and U.K., from military to intelligence sharing to business and scientific research.

He said the special relationship between the two countries is “as strong now as it has ever been, and I see it every day.”

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