- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 17, 2021

Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that President Biden paid a heavy cost for his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin but received little in return.

Mr. Trump’s criticism followed the completion of Mr. Biden’s first foreign trip which culminated Wednesday in his first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Putin at what many called a low point in the U.S.-Russia relationship. 

“We gave a very big stage to Russia, and we got nothing,” Mr. Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in a wide-ranging interview. “It was a good day for Russia.”

The two heads of state agreed to hold separate news conferences following the closed-door talks in a bid which some argue was aimed, in part, at limiting Mr. Putin’s platform following the already high-profile summit. 

But Mr. Putin was still able to land a few jabs in response to the free-for-all questions posed by the press, disparaging the U.S. on gun violence, Guantanamo Bay, and even calling out the U.S. for prosecuting Capitol rioters from Jan. 6 for making “political demands” when asked why he had poisoned and imprisoned his political opponents.  

Mr. Trump was also critical of the Biden administration’s recent decision to lift sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG, which he said allowed for the completion of a Russia-backed natural gas pipeline spanning Europe from Russia to Germany. 

“That pipeline was stopped,” he said. “And it was given back and nothing was gotten for it.”

The Biden administration has argued that the decision to lift the sanctions was made in the interest of preserving the U.S.’s relationship with Germany, who benefited from the pipeline, and that the pipeline was too close to completion to be stopped through sanctions when Mr. Biden took office. 

Mr. Trump told Mr. Hannity that the pipeline was not in the interest of the U.S., despite our close alliance with Germany. 

“We have 52,000 soldiers over there, which is like a major, major city, frankly, they make a fortune with us,” he said speaking of Germany. “And then they go and they pay Russia billions and billions of dollars for energy.” 

Mr. Hannity also spoke with Mr. Trump about the U.S.-Mexico border, Mr. Trump’s backing of candidates in 2022 and his plans for running for office in 2024. 

Mr. Trump announced Tuesday that he accepted an invitation from Texas Gov. Greg Abbot to join him on an official visit to the U.S.-Mexico border at the end of the month. 

Mr. Trump also recently announced that he will be holding his first rally after leaving office in Wellington, Ohio later this month. The rally is sponsored by Save America, Mr. Trump’s political action committee. 

“I’m working on ’22 getting a lot of good senators and a lot of good congresspeople elected,” he said. “And then we’ll be making a decision on 2024.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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