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White House Says Trump Had Second Talk With Putin At G20 Summit


U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, July 7, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a second, previously undisclosed conversation during the Group of 20 summit in Germany earlier this month, the White House said on July 18.

The two leaders held a formal bilateral meeting that lasted more than two hours on July 7, and a White House spokesman said Trump and Putin also had a "brief conversation" during a dinner for world leaders and their spouses at the summit.

Television coverage of the dinner showed that first lady Melania Trump was seated next to Putin.

Ian Bremmer, the president of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, who was the first to report the second meeting, had a different account. He said Trump got up from his seat halfway through dinner and spent about an hour talking "privately and animatedly" with Putin, "joined only by Putin's own translator."

The absence of a U.S. translator raised eyebrows among other leaders at the dinner, said Bremmer, who called it a "breach of national security protocol."

The White house said Trump used the Russian translator because the U.S. translator at the dinner did not speak Russian.

Trump is under intense scrutiny amid allegations his campaign may have cooperated with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. Trump has denied any collusion.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
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