WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump had another, previously undisclosed conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Germany.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer and National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton confirmed that Trump and Putin spoke privately at a dinner for world leaders and their spouses at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
The conversation came hours after their first official meeting on July 7, which was originally scheduled to last just half an hour, but stretched on for more than two.
Trump and Putin were also captured on video shaking hands and exchanging a few words after they arrived at the G-20 summit of industrialized and developing nations.
Anton would not specify the duration of the meeting. But he said the discussion was casual and should not be characterized as a “meeting” or even a less formal, but official, “pull-aside.”
“A conversation over dessert should not be characterized as a meeting,” he said.
A few leaders had their translators with them, but no other delegates attended the dinner, he said.
Trump and Putin’s relationship has been under scrutiny since the election campaign, when Trump repeatedly praised the Russian as a strong leader and publicly encouraged him to hack then-rival Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump aides have since said he was joking.
U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election in order to help Trump. Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on their findings and dismissed investigations into potential collusion between his campaign and Moscow as a “witch hunt.”
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