The White House is planning a formal summit between President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, according to USA TODAY.
Senior White House aide John Bolton will head to Russia later this month to prepare ahead of the visit, which Trump told reporters could happen in July.
Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for Bolton, sad Trump's national security adviser will be abroad June 25-27 to "meet with U.S. allies in London and Rome to discuss national security issues, and travel to Moscow to discuss a potential meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin."
The Trump-Putin meeting could happen while Trump travels to Europe in mid-July for a NATO conference in Brussels and a ceremonial visit to the United Kingdom.
The president has often lobbed criticism toward NATO members he believes are not spending a fair share on their own national defense, and some see Trump’s potential visit with Putin as an intentional jab:
"Trump's plan to meet Putin immediately before or after the NATO summit is a slap in the face to the alliance, whose mission centers largely around deterring Russian aggression," tweeted Ned Price, a National Security Council spokesman during the the Barack Obama administration.
"And that's probably just as Trump intended," Price said.
Trump has also received criticism for appearing more friendly toward Putin at times than America’s allies, particularly in light of the ongoing special investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.