President Donald Trump had a second talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany (video below).
White House Press Secretary Sean Spice confirmed the second conversation on July 18, notes The Hill. According to Spicer, the second talk happened hours after their official meeting.
An unidentified White House official insisted the White House did not keep the talk secret and also denied it was a second meeting:
There was no "second meeting" between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to 'hide' a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd.
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It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a president's duties, to interact with world leaders. Throughout the G-20 and in all his other foreign engagements, President Trump has demonstrated American leadership by representing our interests and values on the world stage.
The second talk became public earlier in the day on July 18 when Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, spilled the beans in a note to his clients, reports Reuters. The White House did not mention the conversation before July 18.
Bremmer told his clients that halfway through a dinner for the G-20 heads of state and their spouses, Trump left his seat and spoke to Putin "privately and animatedly" in a conversation that was "joined only by Putin's own translator."
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Bremmer said the lack of a U.S. translator was a "breach of national security protocol."
Bremmer spoke more about the talk during an interview with Bloomberg News host Charlie Rose:
The first thing I thought of when I heard it was the fact was when [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions was having these meetings with [Russian Ambassador Sergey] Kislyak that weren't meetings, right? Because they were in broader meetings, but they're pull-a-sides, so you don't really need to talk about it. But it turns out that's where they're really conducting business. That's kind of what this sounds like...
You have an hour that evening that no one has even heard of. We clearly know that Trump does not care what the media has to say about his desire to have a close, personal relationship with the Russian president, and what drives it...
Never in my life as a political scientist have I seen major two countries with a constellation of national interests that are as dissident, while the two leaders seem to be doing everything possible to make nice and be close to each other. That’s what people don’t understand.
According to the White House, Trump and Putin used the Russian translator because the American translator, who was present at the dinner, only spoke Japanese.