Trump Lashes Out at 'Fake News,' Following Reports of His 'Secret' Meeting With Putin

Susan Jones | July 19, 2017 | 5:36am EDT
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First Lady Melania Trump was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner for world leaders, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at the G20 summit on July 7, 2017. The White House now confirms that President Trump left his seat and spoke with Putin for some time, through a Russian translator. (Screen grab from CNN)

( - "Sick." That's how President Donald Trump is describing press reports about his "secret dinner" (in a room full of people) with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that during a dinner with world leaders at the G20 summit in Germany, "President Trump left his chair at the sprawling banquet table and headed to where President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was seated.”

Putin, in fact, was seated next to Trump’s wife Melania, as video of the event shows.

Following a two-hour meeting earlier in the day, Putin and Trump held a "one-on-one discussion over dinner that lasted as long as an hour and relied solely on a Kremlin-provided interpreter," the newspaper said.

On Tuesday night, Trump issued two tweets, saying:

-- "Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is 'sick.' All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!"

-- "The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!"

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), asked about Trump’s newly disclosed “meeting” with Putin, told CNN that Trump’s reliance on Putin’s translator was “a basic failure in terms of national security protocol.”

The senator said Trump needed to know, from an American perspective, what was being said.

Coons also noted that no one knows what the two men talked about.

“That’s exactly the point,” Coons said. “He was publicly seen by our allies, by critical heads of state with whom we’re trying to sustain our alliances, to snub them and take the time to invest a great deal of individual one-on-one time with Putin, relying on his translator.”

Coons told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Trump should share what he discussed with Putin with other U.S. government officials -- but only the  Russian translator knows for sure what was said.

“I see him as being too close, too friendly with Vladimir Putin and it's one of the reasons that lots of members of Congress have had questions about whether the smoke here, the billowing questions about all these different unreported meetings with senior Russians actually is concealing some fire,” Coons said.

Asked why the White House didn’t disclose the second Trump-Putin conversation, Coons said, “Well, Wolf, it could be entirely innocent. This could just be the sloppiness of a new administration that doesn't see the significance or relevance of a long, direct, one-on-one conversation between our president and Vladimir Putin. 

“But now, more than six months into it, with an active investigation where questions about ties between Trump and Putin are on the news every single night, it's hard to see this as anything other than a significant misstep or an attempt at concealment."

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