Remember the “very good talks” President Trump had with Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Hamburg? The meeting was scheduled for half an hour but wound up going over two hours. The First Lady even went in to break up the meeting at one point and Trump and Putin kept talking. Today we learn Trump and Putin held another informal meeting at the G20, this one took place at a dinner for G20 leaders later that night. From the Washington Post:
The second meeting, unreported at the time, took place at a dinner for G-20 leaders, a senior administration official said. Halfway through the meal, Trump left his own seat to occupy a chair next to Putin. Trump was alone, and Putin was attended only by his official interpreter…
The administration official spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm the session, first reported Monday by Ian Bremmer, president of the New York-based Eurasia Group, in a newsletter to group clients. Bremmer said in a telephone interview that he was told by two participants who witnessed it at the dinner, which was attended only by leaders attending the summit and some of their spouses.
Leaders who reported the meeting to him, Bremmer said, were “bemused, non-plussed , befuddled” by the animated conversation, held in full view — but not listening distance — of others present.
The Post isn’t saying or even suggesting that anything nefarious happened here. Indeed, one of the Post’s sources says this type of thing is not unusual at such dinners. The reason this is different is obviously because of the speculation it will foster about Trump and Putin. What were they (and Putin’s translator) talking about out in the open but out of earshot?
Trump apparently relayed a version of the conversation to his own White House aides but didn’t inform the media. I’m not sure that was a smart move, not because I suspect anything inappropriate was discussed, but because the media is so primed to believe the worst at this point it might have been better to avoid the perception this was being held back from them.