The White House has confirmed tha US President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had another, previously undisclosed conversation, hours into a dinner with world leaders who had gathered at this month’s G20.
That which was known to the world was that the two presidents had met earlier in the day for the first time and, as the White House put it, had developed a rapport even as they talked about Russia’s interference in the United States’ 2016 elections.
However, it has just been revealed that there was another encounter: a one-on-one encounter which lasted for an hour and relied solely on a Kremlin-provided interpreter. but the White House has not revealed what was discussed.
The dinner discussion caught the attention of other leaders around the table, some of whom later remarked privately the odd spectacle of the newly-formed rapport between the American president and the Russian leader, calling for special attention at a summit meeting that included some of the United States’ staunchest, oldest allies.
The extra conversation happened during a private meal of heads of state at the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier in the month.
Mr Trump left his seat and headed to Mr Putin, who had been sitting next to Mr Trump’s wife, Melania, US media said.
Mr Trump had been seated next to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s wife, so the US interpreter at the dinner spoke Japanese, not Russian. No media were in attendance.
A White House official said there was nothing unusual about it. And in two tweets late Tuesday, Mr. Trump derided news reports about it as “sick.”
He said the dinner was not a secret, since all of the world leaders at the summit meeting and their spouses had been invited by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. “Press knew!” he tweeted.
“Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!” Mr. Trump added.