They may be too toxic for President Trump at the moment, but Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin had plenty of time to share an enthusiastic public handshake before sitting down at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires on Friday.
Both would be solidly on Trump's G20 agenda, except for some inconvenient interceding events.
MBS is accused of ordering Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. President Donald Trump, who is also in Buenos Aires for the summit, has been skeptical of those accusations in spite of the CIA’s assessment that Salman ordered the murder. But his response has been lambasted by politicians on both sides of the aisle and put him at odds with Congress, which is pursuing harsher measures against the young Saudi Prince.
Putin, meanwhile, continues to be a very big thorn in Trump's side — for obvious reasons. Trump cancelled his planned meeting with the Russian president, supposedly over Russia seizing Ukrainian naval ships, but also after the guilty plea by his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen who said that the Trump Organization was still negotiating for a tower in Moscow, even as his presidential campaign was underway.
But Trump's tough posture may not last long: The Kremlin is now saying the two will meet at some point during the summit. Trump may also hold an impromptu meeting with MBS.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also plans to meet with the Crown Prince, according to CNN. But she plans to speak clearly “on this issue of Jamal Khashoggi” and the war in Yemen.
Cover: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin speak at the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)