President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had an undisclosed second meeting at the recent G20 summit.
NBC News reported that the two world leaders met at the end of a social dinner at the Hamburg summit. The news of the second meeting was broken by political scientist Ian Bremmer, who said that Putin’s translator was present for the meeting, not Trump’s, and that it lasted for about an hour.
The White House subsequently released a statement about the meeting between the two that said it was just a “brief conversation at the end of a dinner.”
“During the course of the dinner, all the leaders circulated throughout the room and spoke with one another freely. President Trump spoke with many leaders during the course of the evening. As the dinner was concluding, President Trump went over to Mrs. Trump, where he spoke briefly with President Putin,” the statement said. “Each couple was allowed one translator. The American translator accompanying President Trump spoke Japanese. When President Trump spoke to President Putin, the two leaders used the Russian translator, since the American translator did not speak Russian. There was no ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd.”
Putin and Trump held a long-awaited formal meeting during the summit in which Trump pressed the Russian president on whether he interfered in the 2016 election. Putin denied that his nation was behind any wrongdoing. The two also discussed the situations in Ukraine and Syria, and after the meeting the Trump administration announced a ceasefire with Russia in a Syrian region.
Updated at 7:27 PM with White House statement.