White House: Trump-Putin G-20 Dinner Chat Lasted ‘Less Than an Hour’

White House: Trump-Putin G-20 Dinner Chat Lasted ‘Less Than an Hour’

White House: Trump-Putin G-20 Dinner Chat Lasted 'Less Than an Hour'. The White House has declined to release any details of a G-20 summit dinner conversation earlier this month between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. "This was a social dinner and that was the nature of the evening," White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters who pressed her on Wednesday about the topics the two leaders discussed. Trump's tweets and White House officials strongly rejected assertions that the second Putin-Trump conversation was kept under wraps, just hours after two presidents' first face-to-face conversation in Hamburg on July 7 — a meeting of more than two hours, with the U.S. secretary of state and the Russian foreign minister present, along with a translator for each side. Reporters and photographers were not allowed to be present during the dinner, however, and there was no detailed "readout" from White House officials about Trump's contacts with other heads of state, as well as Putin. A 'secret' conversation? The White House initially described the second Trump-Putin discussion as "brief." Trump told the New York Times Wednesday that he and Putin talked for about 15 minutes, "pleasantries more than anything else." The Russian leader banned adoptions of Russian children by Americans five years ago, after the United States enacted sanctions on Russians accused of human-rights abuses. In addition, there are four congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in which Trump won the electoral count, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton, who captured the most votes.

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FILE - A combination of two photos shows U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as they arrive for the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.
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FILE – A combination of two photos shows U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as they arrive for the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.

WHITE HOUSE —

The White House has declined to release any details of a G-20 summit dinner conversation earlier this month between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This was a social dinner and that was the nature of the evening,” White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters who pressed her on Wednesday about the topics the two leaders discussed.

Looking back at news coverage of the Trump-Putin meeting a day earlier, when the encounter first became known in the United States, Sanders said it was “a little bit ridiculous” to describe the two presidents’ chat as a private conversation, when more than two dozen other national leaders and interpreters were sitting nearby and in plain view during a formal dinner in a large dining room.

However, many former diplomats, political commentators and Democratic lawmakers repeated the same phrase Wednesday when asked about the second extended Trump-Putin conversation: “It’s not normal.”

‘Deeply troubling’ for some Democrats

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said he was astonished to learn of the meeting and found it “deeply troubling.”

“Guess this is what Trump calls Прозрачность [transparency],” Schiff wrote on Twitter.

The president should, either through Twitter or his press secretary, “immediately read out the content of his one-on-one chat with Putin before Putin does,” said a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.

Trump’s tweets and White House officials strongly rejected assertions that the second Putin-Trump conversation was kept under wraps, just hours after two presidents’ first face-to-face conversation in Hamburg on July 7 — a meeting of more than two hours, with the U.S. secretary of state and the Russian foreign minister present, along with a translator for each side.

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. Trump and Putin met for more than two hours in their initial face-to-face conversation.
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FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg….

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