Officials had not corroborated the July 7 meeting until Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and president of the Eurasia Group, told Charlie Rose in an interview released Tuesday that the two leaders fulfilled on the sidelines of the global summit in Hamburg, Germany, following a dinner with the heads of government attending the session. That second, private session took place after Trump's formal sit-down with the Russian president, which lasted more than two hours .
Donald Trump Had A Second Meeting With Vladimir Putin At G-2 0 Summit
According to Bremmer, the second meeting lasted an hour, and the only person present aside from Trump and Putin was a Russian interpreter. No American interpreter was present.
As Time's Zeke Miller points out , no White House officials were present at the dinner.
In a statement afterwards Tuesday to reporters, the White House disputed the characterization of the encounter as a” second session ,” instead describing it as a” brief dialogue at the end of a dinner ,” during which first lady Melania Trump had been seated next to Putin.
” President Trump spoke with many leaders during the course of the evening ,” reads the statement.” As the dinner was concluding, President Trump went over to Mrs. Trump, where he spoke briefly with President Putin .”
” The insinuation that the White House has tried to' hide' a second session is false, malicious and absurd ,” continues the statement.” It is not solely perfectly normal, it is part of a President's duties, to interact with world leaders .”
Nevertheless, the circumstances of the session as well as the initial decision by White House officials not to disclose it have again drawn scrutiny to Trump's relationship with Moscow.
” You have an hour that evening that no one's even heard of ,” said Bremmer in an interviewing airing on Bloomberg and PBS.” 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 .”
He continued:” Never in my life as a political scientist have I ensure two countries, major countries, with a constellation of national interests that are as dissonant, while the two leaders seem to be doing everything possible to make nice and be close to each other .”
There is no official government record of the session. Ben Rhodes, a former national security consultant for former President Barack Obama, said that the previous administration had a policy of disclosing such interactions.
It's also unusual for an American president to speak with a non-English-speaking foreign leader without the aid of a White House interpreter.( Putin reportedly understands most English .) Interpreter for both leaders, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, attended the earlier session. Even in that encounter, there was some disagreement over what the two leaders actually said to one another.
A White House official told the Washington Post that Trump did not have his own interpreter during the post-dinner talk with the Russian leader because he only brought a Japanese-English interpreter to the dinner to help him communicate with his companion for the dinner, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.