United States President, Donald Trump, and his Russian Counterpart Vladimir Putin held an undisclosed meeting at the G20, a White House official has confirmed. The two leaders met in Hamburg, Germany, for the first time. The meeting was the single most scrutinized meeting since Trump assumed office, amidst the allegations that Russia interfered with the 2016 US elections.
At the G20 meeting, Trump and Putin had a formal meeting earlier in the day. However, it turns out that the two leaders had another one-on-one meeting that lasted as long as an hour. The undisclosed conversation held over dinner relied on a Kremlin-provided interpreter. The meeting took place amidst ongoing investigations into whether Russians helped the Trump campaign clinch the presidency.
No Official Government Record on the Undisclosed Meeting
The one-on-one discussion was confirmed on Tuesday by the White House. Although the meeting took place during the leaders-and-spouses dinner, reporters were not allowed at the dinner. Also, there is no official government record on what transpired at the dinner meeting since there was no US government official other than the president. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump termed the new revelations as “sick,” arguing that other world leaders attended the dinner hosted by Angel Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany.
In the earlier formal meeting that lasted 135 minutes, the White House said that two leaders discussed among other things, the Russian interference in the US elections. Mr. Trump asked his Russian counterpart about his role in the US elections, and Mr. Putin denied any involvement. The two leaders agreed to focus on other matters of interest, including putting to an end the Syria crisis.
Experts in the United States-Russia relations noted that such a meeting, although informal, was a concern especially due to its length and substantive exchange. Also, there was no record on what the two leaders discussed, nor were any American aides involved. The Moscow-Washington relations have deteriorated under the Trump Administration, with new controversies emerging every day.