"I'm back." Putin at the G20 in 2019. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/AFP via Getty Images

Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed plans for September's G7 summit today.

Why it matters: That may sound unusual, until you recall that Russia was expelled from the then-G8 in 2014 over its invasion of Crimea.

As this year's host, Trump can invite additional countries to attend. He plans to include Russia, Australia, India and South Korea in a summit that was pushed back from late June after Germany's Angela Merkel said she wouldn't attend due to COVID-19.

  • Following Trump's curveball, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. would veto any attempt to bring Russia back into the fold as a member, something Trump has floated in the past.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went a step further, seeming to object to the idea of Russia attending the summit in any capacity, while declining to say whether he'd boycott if Russia was invited.

Between the lines: After broadening the invite list, Trump criticized the current G7 lineup — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S — as "outdated."

  • Trudeau said the annual G7 summits bring together "allies and friends who share so much," while the G20 — which includes Russia as well as China — includes countries "we don’t necessarily have great relations with."

Meanwhile, Putin today set July 1 as the new date for a constitutional referendum that could allow him to remain in power through 2036.

  • Putin was forced to delay the referendum from April due to the coronavirus pandemic. He set the date despite his falling popularity amid Russia's continued struggles to contain its outbreak.

Go deeper: Pandemic brings Putin down to size

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Sep 3, 2020 - World

Putin, poison and the pipeline

Merkel in the middle. Photo: Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty

Angela Merkel’s call to action over the nerve agent attack on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been turned around on her: demands that the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas project be scrapped are growing louder.

Why it matters: The pipeline is nearly complete, and it would double Russia’s capacity to export gas directly to Germany.

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Judge temporarily halts U.S. WeChat ban

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A federal judge early on Sunday temporarily blocked a Trump administration order banning the downloads of the Chinese-owned, global messaging app WeChat.

Why it matters: The temporary injunction means WeChat will remain on Apple and Google's app stores, despite a Commerce Department order to remove the app by Sunday evening.

Bill Clinton slams McConnell and Trump: "Their first value is power"

Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) vow to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat before the next presidential inauguration "superficially hypocritical."

The big picture: Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the court in 1993, declined to say whether he thinks Democrats should respond by adding more justices if they take back the Senate and the White House in November. Instead, he called on Republicans to "remember the example Abraham Lincoln set" by not confirming a justice in an election year.