President Donald Trump held a secret, undisclosed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit earlier this month, a political consultant said.
After the two leaders met for more than two hours during a scheduled meeting that was supposed to last around 30 minutes, Trump and Putin had another informal meeting during a G20 dinner that lasted around an hour, according to political consultant Ian Bremmer.
The meeting had not been acknowledged in any way by the White House until the news broke Tuesday.
Bremmer, of consulting firm the Eurasia Group, revealed the information to Charlie Rose of Bloomberg. Bremmer said the meeting showed that Trump’s relationship with Putin is his best with any G20 leader.
News of the second meeting concerns some onlookers, as the investigation into Russia’s involvement in aiding the Trump presidential campaign is ongoing. Currently, Trump’s former campaign advisor, his son Donald Trump Jr. and his son-in-law Jared Kushner are all under investigation for meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer who promised damaging information on then Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
It’s also concerning because neither Putin nor Trump agreed on what exactly took place during that initial meeting. Trump claims he inquired after Russia’s efforts to meddle in the election, but Putin said otherwise — and that Trump understood this.
Trump claims he “strongly pressed” Putin on the matter, but it wasn’t clear if he ever got an answer, and admits it was he who changed the subject to Syria shortly afterward.
“What I said, I asked him, were you involved? He said, very strongly — said to him a second time — totally different — were you involved? Because we can’t let that happen,” Trump said after the meetings. “But we can’t have — and I did say, we can’t have a scintilla of doubt as our elections and going forward.”