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Reports emerged on Tuesday that United States President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held an undisclosed meeting at the G20 in Hamburg during a dinner with world leaders.
Halfway through the dinner, Mr Trump left his chair and approached the Russian President, who was seated next to the first lady Melania Trump.
He then engaged in conversation with Putin relying solely on a Kremlin-provided interpreter, according to a White House official.
The news was first reported on July 8, through Alberto Nardelli.
I am told that Trump and Putin had a "long chat" right after last night's #G20 dinner— Alberto Nardelli (@Alberto Nardelli) 1499501164
However, new concerns about the meeting have arisen as more details were disclosed by Ian Bremner, given the ongoing investigation into allegations the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the election in his favour.
Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a New York-based research and consulting firm, told the New York Times that attendees thought the behaviour was strange:
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 care.
They were flummoxed, they were confused and they were startled.
Mr Bremner described the meeting as lasting roughly an hour, an account not initially disputed by a White House official when asked by the New York Times, but later contested by Press Secretary Sean Spicer in a seperate statment:
It was pleasantries and small talk.
Trump reacted to the news story on Twitter, of course, using quote marks egregiously:
Because the only American party to the meeting was the President, there is no official account of the meeting on record in the US Government, which caused concern to United States media:
POTUS compromised. Kremlin has the only record of the exchange, free to doctor it or use it to nefarious purpose. https://t.co/rFqRaBZhrT— Strobe Talbott (@Strobe Talbott) 1500422737
“The only version of the conversation provided to White House aides was that given by Trump himself” https://t.co/znVF4S43iK— Bradd Jaffy (@Bradd Jaffy) 1500418236
Who said it was a secret dinner? Press knew about the dinner—not Trump's undisclosed mtg with Putin and no U.S. aid… https://t.co/TZb06TFDq6— Bradd Jaffy (@Bradd Jaffy) 1500425749
This is not a pull-aside. Not an informal chat: Trump-Putin meeting "nearly an hour", aide says— Jim Sciutto (@Jim Sciutto) 1500421542
Either way, jokes are being made:
Everyone is overreacting to the Trump & Putin private meeting. Relax. It might have been Trump's performance review.— Jim Gaffigan (@Jim Gaffigan) 1500419127
BREAKING: White House releases transcript of previously undisclosed meeting between Trump and Putin at G20. https://t.co/WMvVIJWF1w— The Daily Show (@The Daily Show) 1500422247
Leave it to Trump to interrupt story about his son Donald Jr.'s secret Russia meeting to announce his own secret meeting with Putin.— Mr. Newberger (@Mr. Newberger) 1500418001
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