Trump says ‘your favorite President did nothing wrong’ in apparent response to Cohen recording

In a tweet describing himself as “your favorite President,” Donald Trump fired back at claims his former private attorney secretly recorded a phone call in which they allegedly discussed hush money paid to a former Playboy model.

The recording, which hasn’t been made public, was discovered as part of an FBI raid in April on attorney Michael Cohen’s home office and hotel in New York, sources told ABC News. The Playboy model in question is Karen McDougal, who has claimed she had an affair with Trump.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump waits to greet King Abdullah II of Jordan and Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, not pictured, at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, June 25, 2018. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Donald Trump waits to greet King Abdullah II of Jordan and Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, not pictured, at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, June 25, 2018. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!”

Donald J. Trump


Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!

The raid on Cohen’s home office and hotel stemmed from an investigation by New York federal prosecutors for potential violations of banking and election laws.

The seized recording, according to sources familiar with the investigation, includes a short conversation between Cohen and Trump, then a candidate for president, talking about a plan allegedly devised by Cohen to prevent McDougal from publicly disclosing claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

PHOTO: ABC News' George Stephanopoulos interviewing Michael Cohen, who was formerly an attorney for President Donald Trump. (ABC News)
PHOTO: ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos interviewing Michael Cohen, who was formerly an attorney for President Donald Trump. (ABC News)

Trump, who married first lady Melania Trump in January 2005, has repeatedly denied having an affair with McDougal, the 1998 Playboy Playmate of the Year.

Laws in New York governing the recording of phone conversations do not require two-party consent. However, 11 states, including Florida, where Trump spends a lot of time, do require both people in a conversation are aware a recording is taking place.

It’s unclear where Trump and Cohen were when the recording was made, which sources said was about two months before the November 2016 election. Around that time, Trump was campaigning heavily in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, two states that do require two-party consent.

Rudy Giuliani, now Trump’s personal attorney, confirmed to ABC News that the president did have a discussion with Cohen before the election, but the former New York City mayor said the payment to McDougal discussed on that call was never made. Giuliani also said the recording in question is less than two minutes long.

In the conversation, Cohen and Trump discussed purchasing the rights to McDougal’s story from American Media Inc., since the company, which publishes the National Enquirer, had already bought the rights to her story, according to sources familiar with the audio recording. Cohen proposed paying about $150,000 to AMI, the sources said, and on tape Trump can be heard telling Cohen to make sure the payment is properly documented in order to keep a record of it.

The sources said that payment never happened.

PHOTO: Karen McDougal, Playboy Playmate of the Year 1998 attend Playboy's Super Saturday Night Party presented by Bacardi at Sagamore Hotel, Feb. 6, 2010, in Miami Beach, Fla. (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Bacardi)
PHOTO: Karen McDougal, Playboy Playmate of the Year 1998 attend Playboy’s Super Saturday Night Party presented by Bacardi at Sagamore Hotel, Feb. 6, 2010, in Miami Beach, Fla

Ronald Reagan was a patriot. What would you call Trump?

Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin (Yahoo News photo illustration; photos: AP, Getty)

For a year and a half now, President Trump has managed to lead by misleading. For every rookie misstep, for every unstable declaration or outright lie the journalists gleefully report, the president offers some variation on a simple response:

Who are you going to believe — me or the media?

Elections, any good strategist will tell you, are choices, not referendums. And this is how Trump approaches the presidency, too. He understands — and this is no small insight — that however much people may question his veracity, they trust those of us who chronicle or criticize him even less.

The strategy was on full display for much of last week, as the president blustered and bungled his way across the European continent. Did Trump really say he wasn’t sure we needed NATO anymore? Fake news, the president said.

Did Trump tell the Sun that Prime Minister Theresa May didn’t listen to his advice and had botched Brexit? More fake news, even though you could hear the audio for yourself.

Just say the media made it all up or took it out of context, and the whole controversy becomes, at worst, a muddle of suspect narratives.

Which is why even a shaken Trump seemed to understand that his post-meeting performance with Vladimir Putin might be remembered, years from now, as a turning point in his presidency. This wasn’t just another anonymously sourced story he could completely deny, or some dimwitted comment he could say he never made.

This was right there for everyone to watch for themselves, live on all the channels. And unless you’re one of those 25 percent of Americans who would continue to support Trump even if he ripped off his face to reveal a lizard alien sent from some distant galaxy to subjugate humanity because, you know, even an insatiable carnivorous alien lizard is better than Obama, then what you saw had to leave you a little nauseated.

This was Trump presenting a united front with one of the world’s most repressive and deceitful leaders, throwing the men and women who quietly and bravely defend our country under the grinding wheels of a Russian limousine.

This was Trump, a disastrous 24 hours later, trying to undo the damage by claiming that when he had said he had no reason to think it would be Russia hacking our computers, what he meant was that he had no reason to think it wouldn’t be Russia.

“Seinfeld” fans might call this the “Opposite Day” defense. Trump was just doing his best George Costanza.

Watching this whole tragic spectacle, which John McCain rightly called “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” by which he must have meant the memory of Galápagos tortoises, sent me tumbling in my mind back to 1986.

That was the year I can clearly remember watching a stone-faced Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev get into their limousines and depart Reykjavik in a mournful silence.

Being a college freshman at the time, I thought Reagan had been foolishly stubborn to storm off from that summit — where the two leaders, we later learned, came pretty close to abolishing their nuclear stockpiles — just because Gorbachev insisted that Reagan give up his maniacal plan for shooting down missiles from space. (Thirty-two years later, Putin is still asking for the same thing.)

But here’s what I found myself contemplating this week: No matter how divisive a figure Reagan could be (and again, being a college kid, I was the proud owner of an inflatable punching bag in his likeness), none of us for a moment entertained the possibility that he didn’t have in mind what he genuinely thought best for the country.

Reagan was a patriot. His policies were open to debate, but his motives were not.

What’s unthinkable about Trump is that we actually have to wonder whose side he’s on and why. Just as we might have wondered about Harry Truman if, taking over for Franklin Roosevelt, he had stood next to Gen. Tojo and declared that Pearl Harbor was really no one’s fault and we were idiots for leaving our bases so vulnerable.

It may not have been, as the former CIA Director John Brennan said on Twitter, textbook treason for Trump to publicly ally himself with a foreign despot against his own government. That the question couldn’t be immediately dismissed, however, made clear that Trump had set a new low for the American presidency.

Personally, I’m not surprised that Trump, who permeated the popular culture as a high-stakes dealmaker, turns out to be, at a minimum, a terrible negotiator who doesn’t seem to grasp the strategy that adversaries are using to manipulate him.

The problem isn’t that Trump is compromised, necessarily. It’s that he is a man entirely without empathy. And if you lack the capacity to empathize, you can’t possibly negotiate effectively. You can’t guess at the other guy’s strategy or pick up on the lie.

What makes a politician like Reagan great at diplomacy is the inherent ability to read other leaders and understand the stories they’re telling themselves. Trump doesn’t read people. The only story he cares about is the one in his head.

So what does all this mean for Trump’s presidency?

I don’t know if Helsinki will cost Trump much of his public support in the short term. This isn’t the Cold War, and I suppose there are plenty of voters who don’t think it matters very much to their daily lives if Putin meddles in our election system or expands his influence in Europe and the Middle East.

But I would imagine that some of the Reagan-loving Republicans who have been integral to his presidency up to now will be rethinking their loyalties in the weeks to come. And they absolutely should.

There are a bunch of rationales that conservatives in the so-called establishment have employed to get themselves to sleep at night while pledging unconditional support for the president.

Some take the view that Trump’s various personality flaws are worth enduring for the policies his presidency makes possible — tax cuts, deregulation and of course Supreme Court justices who will take the court decisively rightward. Others see embracing Trump as the only way to hold off insurrection within the party. There’s probably plenty of overlap here.

But many of those who joined the administration or who have acted as advisers to Trump from the start will tell you that their service is an act of patriotism. Better to be on the bridge  of the ship, subtly nudging the wheel and soothing the capricious captain, than down below in the brig, powerless to stop the drift.

Serious soldiers and public servants like John Kelly and James Mattis and Dan Coats, to name a few, have seen themselves as bulwarks against chaos, steady hands to guide the administration in a dangerous world.

But what Helsinki should have made clear — has to have made clear, really — is that no one is mitigating anything. You can play at being Henry Kissinger all you want, but at the moments that count, Trump is always going to be a lot more Nero than Nixon.


NRA-linked Russian aide arrested, charged as foreign agent

WASHINGTON — A Russian gun-rights activist who developed close relations with leaders of the National Rifle Association as well as conservative activists working with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was arraigned Monday on charges she conspired to influence American politics on behalf of the Russian government.

Maria Butina, 29, who founded the Russian gun group “The Right to Bear Arms” and worked as the executive assistant to a top official of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, was arrested Sunday by the FBI in Washington, D.C., where she had been living. The charges allege that she visited the United States in 2015 and 2016 for the purposes of acting “as an agent” of the Russia, according to a criminal complaint released by the U.S. Justice Department on Monday afternoon, a few hours after President Trump and Russian President Putin met in Helsinki. Butina conspired to “exploit personal connections” with U.S. political figures and to “infiltrate organizations active in U.S. politics” and establish “back channel lines of communication” in an effort to advance Russian government interests, the complaint charges.

Marina Butina
Maria Butina was charged on Monday for acting as an agent of Russia in the U.S. (Photo Illustration: Yahoo News; photos: ITAR-TASS/, Getty Images (2))

Chief among the groups Butina and her boss, Russian central banker Alexander Torshin, sought to infiltrate was the NRA. Torshin became a lifetime member of the group, and he and Butina regularly attended the association’s annual meetings, held private dinners with the group’s leaders and joined them for target shooting.

A March 2015 email to an unnamed conservative activist that was discovered on a search of Butina’s laptop outlined a project to alter the Republican Party’s traditional hostility to Russia by exploiting ties to the NRA, which she described as “the largest sponsor of the elections to the U.S. Congress,” according to an FBI affidavit in support of her arrest. She also wrote that Republicans “would likely obtain control over the U.S. government after the 2016 elections.” (In the complaint, the Republicans are described only as “Political Party 1” and the NRA as a “Gun Rights Organization.” The NRA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

In a statement Monday night, Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, said that his client “is not an agent of the Russian Federation” and “intends to defend her rights vigorously.” He said the charges against Butina, who recently graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., with a master’s degree in international relations, were “overblown,” adding that she was willing to cooperate with federal authorities and had already testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. “There is simply no indication of Butina seeking to influence or undermine any specific policy or law of the United States — only at most to promote a better relationship between the two nations,” he said. (Butina is not charged with espionage but with violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act by failing to register as a Russian agent with the Justice Department.)

Butina’s arrest is significant in light of her apparent efforts to penetrate the Trump campaign and to get the GOP candidate to commit to lifting sanctions on Russia at a time relations with Moscow were hardly a front-burner issue in the presidential race. In July 2015, just weeks after Trump announced his candidacy, Butina showed up at a conservative evangelical Christian event in Las Vegas, where she questioned the new candidate about his position on sanctions against Russia. “Do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging both economies?” Butina asked Trump after he called on her in a question and answer session. Trump replied in the course of a rambling five-minute answer: “I know Putin. … I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK? I don’t think you’d need the sanctions.”

As revealed in the book Russian Roulette, co-authored by this reporter with David Corn, Trump adviser Steven Bannon and Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus shared concerns about Butina and her agenda after viewing video of her questioning Trump.

“How was it that this Russian woman happened to be in Las Vegas for that event?” Bannon and Priebus discussed among themselves, according to “Russian Roulette.” “And how was it that Trump happened to call on her? And Trump’s response? It was odd, Bannon thought, that Trump had a fully developed answer. Priebus agreed there was something strange about Butina. Whenever there were events held by conservative groups, she was always around, he told Bannon.”

Maria Butina and David Keene
Maria Butina with former NRA president David Keene at the NRA headquarters in Virginia in 2014. (Photo: @Maria_Butina via Twitter)

The FBI affidavit makes no mention of Trump. But it does quote from a message Butina sent to Torshin — identified as a “Russian official” who later became a top official of the Russian Central Bank — in 2015 where she reported about “speaking to a political candidate on the night of the announcement” as well as her previous meeting with the candidate at a 2015 NRA convention. The affidavit does not identify the candidate, but Butina was also photographed attending an event with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker around this time.

Butina and Torshin’s efforts to forge relations with GOP candidates, including Trump, continued throughout the 2016 campaign. Paul Erickson, a GOP consultant based in South Dakota who helped Butina set up a limited liability company in that state, emailed a senior official in the Trump campaign – under the subject line “Kremlin connection” — offering to serve as a “backchannel” between the Trump campaign and Putin. He proposed setting up a meeting among Trump, Butina and Torshin at that year’s NRA convention in Louisville, Ky. The meeting never took place but Torshin did meet with Donald Trump Jr. at a private dinner at the convention.

After the election, Butina offered to work as a volunteer for Trump’s transition and attended Trump’s inauguration, according to a Republican fundraiser who was active in the inauguration. The FBI affidavit also documents Butina’s efforts to arrange “friendship and dialogue” dinners between Russian officials and members of Congress, as well as bring a delegation of Russians, including Torshin, to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

As first reported by Yahoo News last year, Trump was slated to meet with Torshin and the Russian delegation before the prayer breakfast at the Washington Hilton on Feb. 2, 2017. But the meeting was canceled at the last minute after a White House national security aide discovered Torshin had been named by Spanish police as a suspected “godfather” of an organized crime and money-laundering ring. More recently, Yahoo News reported that José Grinda, a Spanish prosecutor who was investigating Torshin, confirmed that the FBI recently acquired transcripts of Spanish police wiretaps of conversations between Torshin and a convicted Russian money launderer — a sign that the FBI’s investigation is continuing.

Maria Butina with Alexander Torshin

Man described by sheriff as serial killer suspect arrested

This undated photo provided by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Houston shows Jose Gilberto Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a suspect wanted in connection with three killings since Friday, was arrested Tuesday, July 17, 2018, in Houston. (Harris County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies in Houston acting on a tip from a caller Tuesday arrested a suspected serial killer linked to the deaths of three people.

The caller spotted a Nissan Sentra that authorities had earlier said was being driven by Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, wanted in connection to three killings since Friday.

The Harris County sheriff’s office was notified and a deputy attempted to stop the Sentra but it sped away, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. The car came to a stop after a chase lasting about 15 minutes and Rodriguez was taken into custody, he said. A handgun was found in the car, which police say was stolen from one of his victims.

“It’s possible that he was looking to score his next victim so we’re very relieved, very thankful to the citizens of Harris County for calling in, for being diligent and reporting this to us so that we could take action,” Gonzalez said during a news conference.

During a joint conference Monday with Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Gonzalez described Rodriguez as a possible serial killer .

He’s suspected in the shooting death of 62-year-old Pamela Johnson in her Cypress-area home Friday; the killing of 28-year-old Allie Barrow inside a mattress store in Houston on Saturday; and the fatal shooting of a man inside another mattress store in Houston on Monday. Authorities have not identified the third victim.

Rodriguez also is a suspect in the robbery, shooting and wounding of a metro bus driver on Monday and a home invasion robbery on July 9, investigators said.

Gonzalez said there were “strong indications in each crime” that Rodriguez was involved but declined to elaborate. Authorities have not released further details of the crimes, such as the motive behind each act and whether the victims were randomly chosen.

How To Use Irish Spring Soap To Naturally Keep Pests Out Of Your Garden


How To Use Irish Spring Soap To Naturally Keep Pests Out Of Your Garden



Gardening is a smart and budget-friendly way to provide you and your family with healthy fruits and veggies. No need to worry about what’s going in or on your produce, because you are the captain of these crops. The best greengrocer is just outside your window. Gardening is also a great way to stay active and get outdoors. Who needs the gym when you have hundreds of radishes and turnips to pluck from the Earth?

Sadly, the garden sometimes goes from a veggie nursery to a bitter battlefield. Pests, such as deer and slugs, can wreak havoc on a garden. These rude intruders swoop in and steal our precious food and flowers. If gardening has become more of a chore than a labor of love, follow these simple tips to scare off obnoxious pests:

1. Incorporate “companion plants.”

Harvest to Table

Certain plants give off an aroma that pests find unpleasant. Even the color of a plant can deter unwanted visitors. Putting a few companion plants in your garden, such as planting basil next to tomatoes, can deflect flies, mosquitoes, and other insects. Harvest to Table has a handy guide on companion plants.

2. Garlic is your garden’s friend.

If you have some garlic in your fridge, try throwing that in your garden. The strong odor of garlic will chase away beetles and potato bugs.

3. Hang up reflective CDs.

Purple Chocolat Home

The reflective surface of CDs will keep the hungry birds away from your fruits. Just hang a few from your spare branches to create a shiny weapon.

4. Deter deer with soap.


Deer do not like the smell or taste of soap – and who can blame them? Curbly came up with this great idea to cut up Irish Spring Soap and sprinkle it into the soil to keep deer at bay.

5. Fend off pests with cornmeal.

Gardening & More

This works great both inside and outside your home. If you’re finding an army of ants swarming your veggie patch, sprinkle some cornmeal around. This will kill the ants, as well as any ugly weeds.

6. Embrace ladybugs.

They say ladybugs bring good luck, and they can definitely bring some good fortune to your garden. Lure some ladybugs into your veggie patch with raisins and sticks. Besides dried-up grapes, ladybugs like to feast on nasty pests such as aphids.

7. Get rid of slugs using milk.

The Cottage Smallholder

Where there’s one slug, there’s 50. These slimy little bugs are not your friends. Place a small container of milk in the soil to trap and kill any annoying slugs hanging around. They’ll crawl into the container – but they won’t come out.

8. Let there be eggshells!

The Thrifty Couple

You know that phrase, “walking on eggshells?” Well, snails and slugs don’t like stepping on these sharp shells either. Crumble some leftover shells and toss them around your plants. Now, you’ve installed a sort of organic tire spike.

The Thrifty Couple

As a lovely bonus, the calcium in eggshells will enrich your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, which will help them grow!

9. Plant DIY sticky traps.

Jim Long’s Garden

A lot of creepy crawlers like sticky, sweet substances. Jim Long’s Garden blog has come up with a nifty, sticky trap to catch and kill your garden insects using a plastic cup.

10. Feed your garden coffee.

Steve Snodgrass

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen. Spreading some coffee around your soil increases the acidity, which is perfect for acid-loving plants. Unlike Starbucks-obsessed humans, slugs and deer are not fans of this perky drink.

By implementing these quick and easy gardening tips, you can ensure that the only one getting to eat your produce is you!

The Tiffany Window

Be sure to SHARE these green tips with your friends and family.

A Man’s Guide To Wearing Rings

A Man’s Guide To Wearing Rings

vintage young hipster with sunglasses pinky ring

Do you wear rings other than a wedding band? If so, what style? How do you think it affects the opinions of others? Do you even care? Should you?

The reality is that rings send a message. For thousands of years, men have worn them to signal status, wealth, commitment, and association. They can send the message that you’re not available, that you attended the Naval Academy (yes, I see your ring Annapolis man), that you’re part of a fraternal brotherhood, or that you’re from a culture not afraid to display wealth on the hands.

For a man especially, wearing a ring beyond the wedding band is a statement. Be aware, though, wearing a signature ring is not a statement everyone will get.

But like a lot of style choices, they’re present for the people who notice, and being part of the elite club that “gets it” is part of the fun.

The goal of this piece is to help you wear a ring (or multiple rings) with confidence. We’ll first go through the symbolism and guidelines for wearing rings on particular fingers, and then we’ll get into the 5 rules every man should follow when donning jewelry on his hands.

Ring & Finger Symbolism

Right Hand vs. Left Hand

For the most part there aren’t any ironclad rules about which hand you wear your ring(s) on.

Engagement and wedding rings are exceptions — there are a lot of specific cultural traditions — but at the end of the day there are so many cultural traditions that you’ll find different men doing different things within any diverse society. For example, most American men will wear their wedding band on their left ring finger, but a man married in an Eastern Orthodox church could end up using the right hand instead.

Some schools or organizations may have rules about how to wear their rings (in which case you’ll be told), but most will leave it up to their members.

So for most rings, don’t worry about right hand vs. left hand rules. You may, however, want to make a decision about which hand to wear a ring on, based on which hand’s symbolism fits best with the symbolism of that particular ring. The right hand is generally seen as the “physical” hand — the active, dominant one that makes most of your gestures. The left is thought of as the “mental” hand, representing your character and beliefs.

Those are based, unsurprisingly, on a right-hander’s view of the world. A left-handed man might personally find it appropriate to reverse the whole thing.

At the end of the day we’re talking about some very general concepts here — don’t be afraid to go your own way.

Let’s next look at the individual fingers and the symbology associated with them, as well as common ring choices for those fingers.

The Little (Pinky) Finger

pinky finger ring symbolism illustration
This is often the first choice for a man who wants to wear a “statement” ring.

Pinky rings have a couple of advantages. First, they don’t have religious or cultural associations in most cultures (unlike the ring finger), though family crests are often worn on the pinky finger. And although there is a Hollywood connection between organized crime and an affinity for little finger rings, there isn’t substantial evidence to prove that wearing a ring on this finger means you’re a mafioso. The second advantage of pinky rings is that, like rings on the fourth finger, they don’t touch or interfere with the heavily-used index/pointer finger at all.

Wearing a ring on your pinky finger also isolates it from your body a bit, making it more of an eye-popping statement. As a result, pinky rings tend to be among the “busiest” or flashiest of designs. It’s where you wear things when you want attention paid to them. If you want less of that attention, wear a relatively slim ring with a subdued tone.

People who like astrological or palmistry-related symbolism will associate the little finger with Mercury, and the qualities of intelligence, discernment, and persuasion. More specifically, a pinky ring worn on the active hand is associated with intellect, along with an excellent ability to express yourself. Worn on the passive hand, it shows a strong intuition and great listening skills.

The Fourth (Ring) Finger

ring finger ring symbolism illustration

In much of North and South America, the ring finger is most commonly associated with wedding symbolism: a band on the right fourth finger indicates engagement, while a band on the left fourth finger indicates marriage.

Nearly all men opt for a simple ring for their wedding band; a very small percentage also don an engagement ring (called a “management” ring) before exchanging vows. In either case, a large ring with a jewel or a three-dimensional design is far less likely to be taken for something related to your marital status.

That’s not to say that people don’t wear some very unique and artistic alternatives as wedding bands, but it’s not the cultural norm. A distinctively decorative ring on the fourth finger probably won’t be assumed to be a wedding or engagement ring, while a plain metal band or one with minor, same-tone etchings or designs probably will be.

Symbolically, the ring finger is associated with the sun, the source of creativity and beauty, as well as romantic relationships (which explains its association with courtship and marriage). The sun’s metal is gold, hence it’s the traditional metal of wedding and engagement bands.

Another possible reason culture promotes commitment rings on this finger? It is the only finger that was once thought to have an unbroken artery that leads straight to the heart, essentially creating a direct connection to the heart to signify an eternal bond.

The Middle Finger

milddle finger ring symbolism illustration
The middle finger is your largest, boldest finger. Rings worn on the middle finger are surprisingly uncommon, though. In part, that’s because it’s adjacent to the index finger, and anything bulky can be quite a hindrance to fine manual tasks. So it’s best to keep things small and simple if you’re wearing a ring on your middle finger.

That said, a lot of first-time ring-wearers might feel more comfortable with the middle finger, purely because it feels so central, sturdy, and frankly, “manly.” If the idea of a pinky ring weirds you out, and you don’t want any confusion with wedding/engagement symbolism, the middle finger’s a safe default.

Because of its central location, the middle finger is held to symbolize structure, balance, conscience, and order, and is associated with Saturn. Since Saturn’s metal is lead, simple gray metals like steel are common middle finger choices.

The Index (Pointer) Finger

index pointer finger ring symbolism illustration
There’s a natural instinct to keep the pointer finger clear, since we use it more than any other digit (except the thumb), but it turns out that a ring on this finger doesn’t interfere as much as wearing one on the finger next to it.

If you go back hundreds of years, the index finger was the most common location for a man’s ring, which was generally a signet or a crest. In some parts of Europe, people below a certain rank were actually forbidden from wearing index finger rings, because they denoted specific family status.

That makes the index finger a good place for things like class rings, fraternal rings, or family and membership crests, although many men (especially younger, unmarried men) opt for the ring finger out of habit instead.

Anything that you want to be used frequently and emphatically in your gestures can go on the index finger. It’s not as dramatically isolated as something on the outer digits (thumb and pinky), but its prominence still makes it noticeable.

The astrological association for the pointer finger is Jupiter, which symbolizes power, leadership, and authority. Men who wear a ring on this finger are believed to be unapologetic and confident. Jupiter is associated with both tin and wood. While you’ll find wooden rings out there, not many are made from tin. Still, bright silver tones inspired by the metal are a normal choice for the index finger.

The Thumb

thumb finger ring symbolism illustration

Thumb rings have a slightly outlandish feel to people who come from conventional North American culture, but they’re actually reasonably common world-wide. In most societies a thumb ring on a man is a sign of wealth or influence, and they tend to be broad or bulky to reflect that (also to fit comfortably on the thumb, of course).

A thumb ring is also often the natural choice for men who want to wear multiple rings on the same hand, since it’s at least somewhat distanced from the others. A wedding band plus a pinky or middle finger ring can get quite crowded, both visually and physically, whereas a thumb ring gives everything some space.

Thumb gestures are associated with interaction and friendship (think “thumbs up”). Wear a ring that you want people to like — big and chunky is fine, but nothing incredibly gaudy or expensive-looking. It’s already going to be bigger than most rings, so if the design is extravagant as well, it just becomes this massive anchor dragging your hand down. Keep it bold but simple.

Because the thumb is also separated from the other four fingers, it shows an alienation of sorts, and is a good finger to choose for rings that symbolize something that makes you distinct. A thumb ring worn on the active hand also generally indicates an assertive personality.

The thumb doesn’t have a planetary association, but is seen as being positioned between Venus and Mars. It is thus symbolic of strength of character, identity, will, and self-assuredness.

The 5 Rules of Wearing Rings

Rule #1: Every Ring Sends a Message

men's Ring Types Meaning illustration

The rings you wear send a signal.

Attended the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, or West Point? A class ring from these institutions identifies your association with some of history’s greatest soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

Want to signal power? In some parts of the world large gold rings with precious stones indicate a person of substantial wealth (and the power to protect it).

Looking for a life partner or just wanting to have fun conversation? Marriage and engagement rings play an important role in quickly telling us how far we can take a conversation with that attractive person we just met.

And make no mistake, people always notice rings. They may not say anything, but they scanned your hands within seconds of seeing you and deciding to engage in a conversation. So be careful about what messages you are sending in certain situations (interviews, conservative business settings, trips abroad) where the casual observer may have their own interpretation of what your rings mean.

People often ask me why I wear my wedding band on my right hand and not the left. The custom in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (I married my wife in Kyiv) is to wear the wedding band on the right hand. It’s a small thing, but it leads to a conversation almost every time I meet someone new.

Rule #2: Be Confident

How confident are you in wearing additional rings?

If you’re not confident, don’t try to fake it ’til you make it. A better approach would be to wear your new ring around the house until you get accustomed to the weight and feel of it.

Next, start wearing your ring around people you trust and see if they notice. Get used to their comments before you start wearing it out in public.

Also, know the story behind your ring if there is one. Be ready to answer questions about it. Is it a family heirloom that has been passed through generations? Was it a ring that you bought on a European summer holiday that reminds you of that trip? No matter the story, your ring has the potential to be a great conversation starter.

Rule #3: Maintain Proportion to Your Hands


If you have large hands, you can wear larger rings. Men with smaller hands should balance their proportions by wearing smaller rings.

By the same token, if you have slim fingers, keep your rings compact. Broad band rings are preferable on men with fuller digits.

On the occasions when you are given a ring — a class ring at graduation, for instance — make sure you get the right size for your finger.

Rule #4: Balance the Ring(s) With Other Jewelry


How do you wear multiple rings or balance other jewelry while wearing rings? Balance it on the other hand — don’t crowd the rings together. If you are wearing a wedding band and a watch on your left hand, balance it out with a bracelet on the right wrist.

If you want to add another ring, what is your next go-to finger? Most men will choose their opposite ring or index finger.

Don’t crowd a bunch of rings, watch, and bracelets on one hand while leaving the other completely free.

Rule #5: Match Metals

Matching Metals

There are no hard rules on matching metals when it comes to rings, as the most common ring (wedding) is fixed. However, to make life easier, I like to match metals and advocate that others adopt the system too.

Most men are content to choose between silver or gold. If you don’t have a personal preference, make a choice by whether your skin has a cool or warm tone.

Wear silver if you have a cool tone. (Your skin has a cool tone if the blue veins on your arm are clearly visible.) Wear gold if you have warmer colored skin. (In this case your veins wouldn’t be very visible.)

I personally like my rings to match my accessories as well. The metal on your belt buckle, watch strap, and rings should be in a similar tone.

By maintaining uniformity you make wearing jewelry easier. If you’re confident, though, you can break this rule as you see fit!

Is There a Maximum Number of Rings to Wear?

Assuming only one ring per finger, two or three spread out across both hands is generally a safe maximum. Go beyond that, and you are in danger of looking like a caricature. It’s best to wear one bold “statement” ring on one hand and nothing else.

Personally, I wear a plain wedding band only, on my right ring finger. I own a class ring, and have been considering a family ring.

Quality matters more than quantity, at the end of the day — no matter what finger you’re displaying your rings on.

Whatever your decision is on wearing rings, if you follow the five rules laid out in this article you’ll do just fine.

A Man’s Guide To Wearing Rings

What does wearing a ring on each finger symbolize?

What wearing a ring on each finger symbolizes?

Pinky- (Intuition, Communication, and Quick Intelligence) Wearing a ring on the pinky finger doesn’t have any religious or cultural associations in most cultures, and it also makes a statement by being isolated from your body. It tends to be “flashy” and can indicate a person who is a good negotiator. A right pinky ring can also indicate professional status.

Ring Finger- (Love of Beauty, Creativity, and Relationship with others) Symbolically, the ring finger is associated with Earth’s moon, creativity, and beauty, as well as its obvious associations with romantic relationships. In the US and much of North & South America, the ring finger is most commonly associated with wedding symbolism.

Middle Finger- (Responsibility, Beauty, and Self-Analysis) Rings worn on the middle finger are surprisingly uncommon. The middle finger is open to interpretation when it comes to wearing a ring. You can choose your own symbolism for a ring on this prominent finger.

SubscribePointer Finger- (Leadership, Self-Esteem, and Authority) Wearing a ring on this finger on the active hand indicates self-esteem, confidence, and great leadership qualities. On the passive hand it signifies accepting the leadership of others.

Thumb- (Personal & Universal, Self-Assertion) Wearing a thumb ring on the right hand, the active hand shows ambitious hesitation. The left thumb with ring on the passive hand shows inner conflict.

81 Fun Facts That’ll Make Everyone You Know Say “I Never Knew That!”

81 Fun Facts That’ll Make Everyone You Know Say “I Never Knew That!”

The voice of Mickey Mouse and the voice of Minnie Mouse got married in real life!

1. German chocolate cake is named after a guy named Sam German, not the country.

2. Almost as many people were killed by guillotine in Nazi Germany as in the French Revolution.

3. The creature that kills the most people every year isn’t snakes, sharks, or even other humans — it’s the mosquito.

4. The Sun City Poms is a cheerleading squad in Arizona that only people 55 or older can join.

5. “What in tarnation?” is literally just another way of saying, “What the hell?”

6. Chainsaws, the horror-movie murder weapon of choice, were invented for aid in childbirth 😊.

7. There’s an island in Japan you can visit that’s inhabited only by friendly bunnies.

8. There are actually more public libraries in the US than McDonald’s.

9. The last letter added to the English alphabet wasn’t Z — it was the letter J.

10. In 1518, a “dancing plague” took over the town of Strasbourg, France.

11. People wore fake moles (or “beauty patches”) made of velvet, silk, or mouse skin in the 18th century as a fashion statement.

12. Before the invention of color TV, 75% of people said they dreamed in black and white. Today, only 12% do.

13. A female architecture student prevented a Manhattan skyscraper from collapsing in the 1970swhen she caught a massive design flaw.

14. It’s illegal to own just one guinea pig in Switzerland because they get lonely.

15. Wombat poop is cube-shaped.

16. The British royal family isn’t allowed to play Monopoly.

17. Popcorn wasn’t always a beloved movie snack — in fact, prior to the Great Depression, movie theaters hated popcorn.

18. Paper bags aren’t any better for the environment than plastic ones.

19. In the 19th century, experts warned women about a disease called bicycle face, which meant getting stuck with the awkward faces they made while biking.

20. Until the 1980s, it was illegal for a woman to drive a car down Main Street in Waynesboro, Virginia, unless her husband was walking in front of the car waving a red flag.

21. The voice of Mickey Mouse and the voice of Minnie Mouse got married IRL.

22. A can of Mountain Dew can dissolve a mouse 😳.

23. For a short time, the planet Uranus was named…George.

24. Movies have to clarify that they’re fiction because of a 1930s lawsuit that traces back to none other than Rasputin.

25. Iceland has an elf whisperer who inspects construction sites before anything gets built to make sure no elves are hanging around.

26. In the 1920s, women in several US cities organized Anti-Flirt Clubs in to combat catcalling.

27. Toilet seat covers are basically pointless.

28. There is an island in the Bahamas that’s inhabited only by swimming pigs.

29. Richard Nixon once smuggled a suitcase full of weed through the airport for Louis Armstrong.

30. Ancient Greeks came up with the idea of cyclops after they found a fossil of a mammoth, and had no idea what it was.

31. There are 70 (!) ingredients in a McRib sandwich.

32. There are lower-case numbers in addition to lower-case letters.

33. The first person to perform a successful C-section in South Africa was Dr. James Barry…a doctor who was actually a woman.

34. For a brief time, Melbourne had the best name on the planet: Batmania.

35. In 1981, a black lab named Bosco was elected honorary mayor of Sunol, California.

36. Lego is the largest tire manufacturer in the world.

37. A “buttload” is a real measurement of weight.

38. 4% of the sand on Normandy beach is made up of shrapnel from D-Day that has broken down.

39. If someone gives opinions on topics they know nothing about, they’re an ultracrepidarian.

40. Canadians say “sorry” so much that The Apology Act was passed in 2009, declaring that an apology can’t be used as evidence of admission of guilt.

41. Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt once ditched a White House dinner party to go on a joyride flight to Baltimore.

42. There’s a high school in Minnesota that gives service dogs yearbook photos.

43. Most American movie villains have British accents because we associate them with having high intellect and low morals.

44. Earth used to be covered with giant mushrooms that were 24 feet tall and three feet wide, instead of trees.

45. Mother’s Day was quite literally invented to be anti-commercialism.

46. There’s a sexual phenomenon named after President Calvin Coolidge.

47. The logo for Chupa Chups was designed by Salvador Dalí.

48. Modern thong underwear was introduced by Fiorello LaGuardia, the mayor of New York City.

49. The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, has so many cats on its grounds that it employs a “Press Secretary to the Cats.”

50. A writer predicted how the Titanic would sink in 1898, 13 years before it was even built.

51. There’s a town in Poland where everything is decorated with paintings of flowers.

52. There are trees that can grow more than one kind of fruit, and they’re called fruit salad trees.

53. “Horizontal refreshment” was 19th century slang for sex.

54. In Queensland, Australia, it’s illegal to own a pet rabbit unless you’re a magician.

55. Elizabeth Jennings Graham did what Rosa Parks did, but a century earlier on a New York City streetcar. Her eventual lawsuit led to the desegregation of New York’s public transit system.

56. Sea otters have a pouch under their forearm to store their favorite rocks.

57. T-shirts were originally marketed to unmarried men who didn’t know how to sew buttons back on collared shirts by themselves.

58. Prior to the 20th century, squirrels were one of America’s most popular pets.

59. All colors of Froot Loops have the same flavor.

60. April 18, 1930, was such a slow news day that at 6:30 PM, the BBC’s radio announcer said, “There is no news.”

61. Before the 1800s, people had a “first” and “second sleep.” They would sleep 3-4 hours, wake up for 2-3 hours to do some type of activity, then go back to sleep until morning.

62. Cows have “best friends” and get stressed when separated.

63. Ketchup was sold as medicine in the 1830s.

64. Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son, was in close proximity to three out of four presidential assassinations.

65. If you’re being violent or drunk in Japan, police will get a futon and roll you into a burrito.

66. All mammals take about 12 seconds to poop, regardless of size.

67. Miami is the only major US city founded by a woman.

68. The story you’ve probably heard about lemmings jumping off of cliffs to their deaths is FAKE.

69. Anxious travelers can play with mini horses at a Kentucky airport.

70. In 1965, a patent was filed for a “birthing apparatus” which would spin pregnant women around at as much as 7G until their baby was flung out from the centrifugal force.

71. A cat co-authored a physics paper in 1975.

72. Cornflakes were invented to prevent masturbation.

73. When the University of Nebraska plays football at home, the stadium becomes the state’s third largest city.

74. Shaggy from Scooby Doo’s real name is Norville Rogers.

75. Every year on Aug. 5, the Mars Curiosity rover sings itself a sad, solitary “Happy Birthday.”

76. There are turtle tunnels in Japan to save them from being run over by trains.

77. Snakes can belch fire.

78. “She sells seashells by the seashore” was written about an actual person named Mary Anning.

79. Mr. Rogers announced that he was feeding his fish on every episode of his show because a blind viewer once asked if they were okay.

80. Red Sour Patch Kids are the exact same candy as Swedish Fish, just with some sour sugar sprinkled on them.

81. Baby puffins are called pufflings.

This Month in History – July

This Month in History – July

This Day in History:

1 U.S. postage stamps went on sale for the first time. (1847)

1 Taxes begin to be withheld from paychecks. (1943)

1 ZIP codes go into use. (1963)

2. President Garfield is shot. His struggle to survive lasted 80 days until his death on September 19th. (1881)

2 The Lawrence Welk show premieres on television.(1955)

3 The first cultivated strawberry is displayed by Michael Kent (1806)

4 After being displayed for over a century, the torch on the Statue of Liberty is removed so it can be replaced. (1984)

5 Baseball great Joe DiMaggio hits his first grand slam. (1937)

5  The bikini makes its debut at a Paris fashion show. (1946)

6 In the very first All-Star Baseball game, the American League wins 5-2. (1933)

7 The United States annexes Hawaii. (1898)

8 The U.S. State Department issues the first passport. (1796)

9 Dick Clark hosts American Bandstand for the very first time. (1956)

10 After an unsuccessful attempt to change its formula, Coca-Cola brings back the ever-popular original formula as”Classic Coke”. (1985)

11 Robert Bailey Thomas publishes the first issue of the Farmer’s Almanac. It is now called the “Old Farmer’s Almanac”. (1792)

11 Former Vice President Aaron Burr kills Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. (1804)

11 Skylab space station re-enters the earth’s atmosphere. Pieces land in the Indian Ocean and in Australia. (1979)

12 Etch-a-Sketch goes on sale. (1960)

13 The radio is patented by Guglielmo Marconi. (1898)

14  Alfred Nobel demonstrates dynamite. (1867)

14 Liquid rocket fuel is patented. (1914)

15 Vulcanized rubber is patented by Goodyear. (1844)

15 Margarine is patented. (1869)

16 John F. Kennedy Jr. dies in a plane crash off Martha’s Vineyard. (1999)

17 The Harvard School of Dentistry becomes the first dental school in the U.S. (1867)

17 The air conditioner was invented. (1902)

17 Walt Disney’s Disneyland opens in Anaheim, Ca. (1955)

18 Adolph Hitler publishes Mein Kampf (1925)

19 Samuel Colt, invented the revolver (1814)

19 Winston Churchill uses the two-finger “V” for victory sign. (1940)

20 In “one small step for man, one giant step for mankind”, Astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to walk on the moon.  (1969)

21 Jesse James and his gang rob their first train (1873)

22 Bank robber John Dillon was shot dead. (1934)

22 An act of Congress restores Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s citizenship. (1975)

23 Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri fills a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream, and the ice cream cone is invented.(1904)

23 Air Force Colonel Eileen M. Collins becomes the first woman to command a space shuttle. (1999)

24 Pres Hoover announces the Kellogg-Briand Pact which renounces war. (A lot of good that did….) (1929)

25 American forces defeat the British at the Battle of Niagara Falls (Lundy’s Lane) (1814)

25 Louise Joy Brown, the First “Test Tube” baby is born in Oldham General Hospital, UK (1978)

26 Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General. (1775)

26 Mickey Mantle hits his first “Grand Slam”. (1952)

27 Bugs Bunny debuts in Warner Brothers animated cartoon “A Wild Hare” (1940)

28 World War I began. (1914)

29 Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” premieres. (1928)

30 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare bill. (1965)

31 Mariner 6 flies past Mars (1969)

Trump’s strained visit with NATO, meeting with Putin

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FILE – In this May 25, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump jokes with British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister Theresa May walks past during a working dinner meeting at the NATO headquarters during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels. Threatening to upend generations of global order, Trump’s week-long European trip will test the strained bonds with some of the United States’ closest allies before putting him face-to-face with the leader of the country whose electoral interference helped put him in office. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

FILE – In this May 25, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump jokes with British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister Theresa May walks past during a working dinner meeting at the NATO headquarters during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels. Threatening to upend generations of global order, Trump’s week-long European trip will test the strained bonds with some of the United States’ closest allies before putting him face-to-face with the leader of the country whose electoral interference helped put him in office. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the established global order on shaky footing, President Donald Trump’s weeklong trip to Europe will test already strained bonds with some of the United States’ closest allies, then put him face to face with the leader of the country whose electoral interference was meant to help put him in office.

Trump departs Tuesday on a four-nation tour amid simmering disputes over trade and military spending with fellow Western democracies and speculation about whether he will rebuke or embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin. He meets the Russian leader in Helsinki as the finale of a trip with earlier stops in Belgium, England and Scotland.

Trump has shown little regard for America’s traditional bonds with the Old World, publicly upbraiding world leaders at NATO’s new headquarters a year ago for not spending enough on defense and delivering searing indictments of Western trading partners last month at an international summit in Canada. On this trip, after meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels, he’ll travel to the United Kingdom, where widespread protests are expected, before he heads to one of his Scottish golf resorts for the weekend.

In the run-up to his trip, the president did little to ease European concerns by delivering fresh broadsides against NATO, an intergovernmental military alliance of 29 North American and European countries aimed at countering possible Russian aggression.

“The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable,” Trump tweeted Monday morning, previewing his message in Brussels.

During a rally last week in Montana, Trump vowed that he would “tell NATO: ‘You’ve got to start paying your bills.'” The president also bemoaned that Americans were “the schmucks that are paying for the whole thing.”

He then laced into German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will be in attendance in Brussels, complaining about how much the United States put toward Germany’s defense: “And I said, you know, Angela, I can’t guarantee it, but we’re protecting you, and it means a lot more to you. … I don’t know how much protection we get from protecting you.”

At the same time, he declared that “Putin is fine” and that he had been preparing for their summit “all my life.”

Experts fear the trip could produce a repeat of the dynamics from Trump’s last trip abroad, when he admonished Group of Seven allied nations at a summit in Canada before heading to Singapore, where he showered praise on one of America’s longest-standing adversaries, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

“What people are worried about this trip is he’ll have equally difficult interactions with his NATO counterparts,” including Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said James Goldgeier, a visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at American University, who is an expert in NATO and security alliances.

“The main concern is he will spend much of the time berating them on not spending enough on defense” before having “a love fest with Putin, like he did with Chairman Kim,” Goldgeier said. He added that if Trump is warmer toward Putin than the leaders of the military alliance that was founded to protect Europe from Soviet threats, it would go “a long way to undermining NATO, undermining the trans-Atlantic relationship, undermining our relationship with our allies.”

Trump is expected to continue to press NATO nations to fulfill their commitments to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. Trump has argued that countries not paying their fair share are freeloading off the U.S. and has threatened to stop protecting those he feels pay too little.

NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends. Trump sent letters to the leaders of several NATO countries ahead of his visit, warning that it would become “increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries fail to meet our shared collective security commitments.”

The ties between the U.S. and many of its longest-standing allies have frayed since Trump took office and put his “America first” agenda into practice. He has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement as well as the Iran nuclear deal, slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and threatened additional tariffs on products like automobiles.

Although administration officials point to the long-standing alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump’s itinerary will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected. Instead, a series of events — a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II — will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

Woody Johnson, Trump’s ambassador to the U.K., said the president is aware of the planned protests but insisted that Trump “appreciates free speech” in both countries.

The G-7 world leaders’ meeting in Canada last month ended in tumult when Trump suddenly retracted his endorsement of the group’s final joint statement after his departure and railed against Trudeau by midflight tweet en route to Singapore for his summit with Kim, a meeting that critics said legitimized Kim on the world stage without securing a clear pathway to the denuclearization.

“The president was willing to offer concessions to Kim without getting anything specific or concrete in return,” said Jeffrey Rathke, deputy director of the Europe Program at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He said the decision had sparked “kind of a frenzy” about what concessions Trump might be willing to offer Putin without NATO signoff.

On Putin’s wish list: an end to U.S. military exercises in Europe and the scaling back of U.S. forces there. The summit also will offer Putin a chance to try to persuade Trump to lift some of the sanctions imposed on Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea, its support for separatists fighting the government in eastern Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump has already met with Putin twice as president, including a meeting on the sidelines of a summit in Germany that stretched for more than two hours. But plans for a full-fledged summit had been delayed amid the FBI and congressional probes into whether Trump campaign aides coordinated with Russia to help Trump win the election. Trump has dismissed those probes as nothing but a “witch hunt.”

Saying that he wants to improve relations with Moscow, Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on conclusions by the nation’s intelligence agencies that Russia tried to help him win the 2016 election, noting that Putin has “strongly” denied being behind the interference. U.S. officials said the two sides this time would be discussing Russian election meddling, Russia’s incursions in the Ukraine and involvement in Syria.