President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald
Details have emerged of an additional conversation between
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at
the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month.
The previously undisclosed conversation between the two leaders
was first revealed Tuesday by Ian Bremmer, the president of the
geopolitical risk firm Eurasia Group.
The White House confirmed various media reports that Putin and
Trump spoke for nearly an hour at the G-20 Couples’ Dinner,
shortly after the two held a formal meeting with their respective
secretaries of state that lasted over two hours.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump’s formal meeting
with Putin took so long that first lady Melania Trump was sent in
“to see if she could get us out of there.” Putin and Trump also
spoke briefly at a meet-and-greet earlier in the summit.
Bremmer told Charlie Rose on Tuesday that “the first thing”
he thought of when he heard about the previously undisclosed
conversation was Jeff Sessions’ interactions with Russia’s
ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, in which, he said, Sessions
“was having these meetings with Kislyak that weren’t ‘meetings.'”
He added: “They were in broader meetings, but they’re
pull-asides, so you don’t really need to talk about it, but it
turns out that’s where they’re conducting business. That’s kind
of what this sounds like.
“But given the extraordinary focus and attention that everything
involving Putin and Trump has had … you have an hour that
evening that no one’s even heard of,” Bremmer continued, adding
that Putin was “clearly” Trump’s “best personal relationship”
with a world leader.
woman passing a billboard showing a picture of Trump and Putin in
Danilovgrad, Montenegro, in November.Stevo Vasiljevic/Reuters
“Pretty much everyone at the dinner thought this was really
weird, that here is the president of the United States, who
clearly wants to display that he has a better relationship
personally with President Putin than any of us, or simply doesn’t
told The New York Times. “They were flummoxed, they were
confused, and they were startled.”
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons told CNN on Tuesday that a source
told him Trump got up from his seat at the dinner table, went
over to Putin, and spoke with him for nearly an hour. Melania
Trump was sitting next to Putin at dinner, according to video
Trump was joined only by Putin’s translator, the White House
said. The two leaders also were said to have left at about the
same time after dinner. There is no government record of the
Following the news of the meeting, the White House issued a
saying “all the leaders circulated throughout the room and spoke
with one another freely.”
The White House also noted that because each seated couple was
afforded one translator, and Trump’s translator happened to speak
Japanese and not Russian, Trump was forced to rely on Putin’s
“There was no ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and
President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a
dinner,” the White House’s statement continued. “The insinuation
that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is
false, malicious, and absurd.”
News of the additional conversation came one week after Trump’s
son Donald Trump Jr. released an email chain showing he agreed to
meet privately at Trump Tower last year with a person described
as a “Russian government attorney” to obtain compromising
information on Hillary Clinton.
Trump Jr. being interviewed by Fox News host Sean Hannity about
his meeting with a Russian lawyer in 2016.Richard Drew/AP
The Trump Tower meeting has attracted sharp scrutiny as Trump
Jr.’s statements about its purpose
have evolved since The Times disclosed its existence on July
Trump Jr. said in an initial statement to The Times that the
meeting was a “short introductory” one and that he and a Russian
lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, “primarily discussed” an adoption
program that Putin cut off in retaliation for the 2012 Magnitsky
Act, a US law that blacklisted Russians suspected of human-rights
did not disclose the presence of Russian-American lobbyist
Rinat Akhmetshin, a translator named Anatoli Samachornov, or
Irakly Kaveladze, the vice president of a major development
company, at the meeting. And it is unclear why a discussion of
Russia’s adoption policy would have required the presence of
Kaveladze, who is based in Los Angeles.
Trump’s outside legal counsel initially said Trump had been
unaware of the meeting.
Soon after news of the meeting broke, however, reports said Trump
had signed off on Trump Jr.’s first statement, which was
subsequently amended several times to address reports of new
details about the meeting.
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