Economy

Trump spoke with Putin at the end of the G20 social dinner

Trump spoke with Putin at the end of the G20 social dinner

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a previously undisclosed private meeting at the G20 summit earlier this month, a White House official said on Tuesday.

Trump spoke to Putin at the end of a couples-only social dinner at the summit in Hamburg, Germany, the official said.

The second meeting, which took place some hours later, was only attended by Mr Putin, Mr Trump and Mr Putin's translator.

The US President said there was no "secret dinner" and added that all G20 leaders and their spouses were invited by the Chancellor of Germany, something the press knew about.

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A senior Russian lawmaker is dismissing media reports of an undisclosed conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump as sensationalist.

Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer, said he had heard of the meeting from a source on Tuesday morning.

The second meeting between Mr Putin and Mr Trump was first reported by Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group. "When President Trump spoke to President Putin, the two leaders used the Russian translator, since the American translator did not speak Russian", the White House said.

Mr Putin's translator was the only other person present during the conversation between the pair but there was no translator for Mr Trump, something Mr Bremmer described as a breach of national security protocol. Other G20 leaders found it...unusual.

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According to the Washington Post, Mr Trump was alone, while his Russian counterpart had a translator with him.

Coons said Trump didn't bring a United States translator and relied on Putin's, which the senator called a "basic failure in terms of national security protocol".

In Trump's own account of the formal meeting, he repeated earlier comments that another country might have been responsible for cyber-interference in the election. "I don't find it a sensation", he said of the lengthy dinner chat, although "maybe Trump and Putin are a little different" from other attendees.

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